My name is Karla Wheelock and I’m a Mexican mountain climber. When I think about what it means to lead from the heart and be authentic in my leadership, I think of the heart as the compass that guides us to where we need to go. When it beats is as if it were signaling our true North—the direction we should follow. The truth is that in the beginning, I didn’t pay much attention to it. I liked to climb trees, I liked to stand on the roof of the house—not the normal things most little girls like to do. But I did them anyway and noticed that I was happiest when doing them.
I dutifully complied with what I was told to do all my life, which was to study and prepare for my future within the parameters of what had to be done. But it wasn’t until I listened to my heart saying that it was being close to nature, being in the mountains that my leadership began to develop. I realized that when you do what you love, you start doing it well, and that when you do it well, you love it more and then your heart becomes happier and you begin to improve and enter that virtuous circle. I realized my passion was in nature and in climbing mountains so I dedicated myself to that.
To be a leader is not simply to set an objective and then reach it. To be a leader is not only to attain your dreams, it’s to be accompanied along the journeys; it is to be able to share your success; to be able to transmit what you’ve learned to someone else. Today, while I am convinced I would not have accomplished what I’ve accomplished without the help of many people who accompanied me, I am also convinced that learning to recognize the talents each of us has and believing in ourselves is essential to realizing our dreams.
To lead from the heart is simply to feel that the heart guides us when we are doing what we love to do. To become a leader and to achieve my true leadership meant not only to reach goals and objectives for myself, but to share the lessons learned with others. Since my very first climb, I came down from the mountain and began sharing my experiences with girls between the ages of 7 and 14. I continue to do so today, now working with girls between 12 and 16. The truth is the I believe and am convinced that when someone recognizes that each and every one of us possess a leader (within) that we can bring forth to its full potential, that leader appears. The day someone believes in you the way one day someone believed in me, you will be able to discover which leadership you are called to make…the one in which you will be able to excel and distinguish yourself.
I climbed mountains because I liked the view from their height. I liked the way I could reach higher goals each time. I never realized all the things I had to go through to conquer those mountains. Today I realize that in striving to reach the goal and following my heart, I discovered discipline, I discovered perseverance, I discovered that any person—small, normal—can achieve great things if she decides to do so in her heart.
Karla Wheelock’s post first appeared on The Global Girls Project™ website and we are grateful to Karla and The Global Girls Project™ for agreeing to share the story here. We suggest that you visit The Global Girls Project™ website and in the meantime, here is a bit of information about this wonderful initiative….
“At the Global Girls Project™, we believe that every female, regardless of age, culture, religious or socio-economic status, should be entitled to the basic human right to live her voice out loud and become a leader in her own life. Looking through the lens of sixteen foundational principles of heart-aligned living and leadership, this collaborative writing project invites you to share stories and advice from your own journey toward empowerment and leadership. Through this project, we hope this global collection of stories will not only inspire and uplift, but encourage and empower others to find their own voice, too, passing on the legacy of leadership from one generation of women to the next.”