In conversation with Keryn Nossal, a leader of the heart.
When I started this discovery quest, searching for heart-based creative leaders all around the globe, there were not many daring leaders who would answer my call with a such clear and confident voice:
“I lead with my heart”.
Keryn Nossal is the one talking. She is one of them, a leader of the heart.
Keryn’s first career was a cardiac nurse. Nowadays she is the Founder and Managing Director of Fancy Films, a B Corp creative content agency based in Melbourne, Australia.
Her observations as a cardiac nurse supported an early conscious understanding that “the heart holds more than blood… huge significance and meaning that is hard for people to express”.
Keryn is a self-taught leader of the heart.
In listening to her talking about her journey I would say she navigates life and work with self-awareness and responsibility. This has supported her uncovering all by herself the way of the heart.
Curiosity, fearlessness, and making an impact have been her guiding values:
“I have had a relentless quest for knowledge. I’ve been relentlessly curious…. Fearless as much as I possibly can be…. I have been very much driven by what change can you make or what difference can you make. If I don’t do the things that create a positive impact then I do not feel fulfilled”.
Her worldview, her values, and her vision of a possible better world set the frame for her mission. There is conscious intention and determination in her path. What is more, along her journey Keryn kept on intentionally pushing boundaries to challenge and expand her comfort zone. For her doing so “it’s hugely rewarding” because it is in there where she grows and develops her talents.
Observe now how self-awareness and self-acceptance inform her mindset and with it set the scope for possibilities to be unlocked:
“I am certainly not perfect…. I am very much constantly curious about knowing myself better…. I tend to set really high expectations for myself, which isn’t always a good thing. I expect a certain level of behavior from myself. And if I don’t live up to that, it doesn’t always sit easy. With being human. You’re allowed to be human and not perfect.”
“I am very comfortable with vulnerability… but I don’t let that happen unfiltered at any old time.”
For Keryn trust is the core element for a team to perform and deliver. Interestingly she also noted that there is as much a need for a safe space as it is for creative tension. She observes teams as dynamic interdependent entities. A place and a space for shared personal and professional growth.
“You have to trust each other to be allowed to be free in your creativity”
Also, observe how when her doing is tied to her sense of being is when joy, potential, learning, and fulfillment really take off:
“We are high performers. We get our joy from high performing.”
“I think your sense of well-being is tied to your sense of purpose, which is tied to your sense of a job well done… It comes back to the legacy that you want to leave…If you have made some people happy… if you help them on their journey towards growth… if you yourself are able in the process to achieve more than you might have thought.. if you continue to set some sort of standard for self-discovery, self-awareness, and for courageous fearlessness and curiosity… then you get to that point where all becomes a recipe that you mix up… and maybe at the bottom of all that there is some sort of spiritual yearning to see what your potential is. That’s what it’s about: your potential.”
“Whilst the heart guides and sometimes dictates, the reality of work is that it can not always be accommodated. I find when the heart is engaged all else follows, when it’s not it’s tough and meaningless – maybe pays well but doesn’t provide any sense of fulfillment.”
Can you also sense the power of heart-based leadership in action between her words?
As Keryn remarks, it is about finding where the trade-off is. Connecting back to the beginning of this post, it is about understanding what is most important to us and how this can be geared into your leadership and the impact you make in the world.
“It is about approaching your life as a system you can change… about leading the life that you want, creating a better life for yourself, and designing your work as a part of your life. Redefining your job as a platform for learning”.
I can only subscribe to Keryn’s words. She is indeed a creative leader of the heart. Yeah!
“Give it love… love for what I do, a love for the process, for the challenge, for the people involved, for the joy of achievement and overcoming obstacles, of creating something”.
Power to you Keryn!