By: Kathy Dixon
I was seven when the world of media, television, and news first began appealing to me. My father spent 20 years of his life traveling the world, covering Presidential candidates and sharing breaking news through some of the world’s largest news stations. It sounds glamorous but what I saw were real life moments, like hallway closets being turned into sound booths while my father pleaded for us to “keep it down” between segments. My dad was big through my seven year old eyes. He was a relentless dreamer, an immensely- and naturally-gifted man, and always in pursuit of the next best for his family.
The years passed, scary and unfair things like cancer showed up that took him much sooner than anyone could have anticipated, and there I was–a 23 year old young woman–mimicking the things I saw and believed to be leadership. I dressed the part and tried really hard to sound the part, yet my attempts felt forced. As I hopped from one career to the next, I eventually found myself at 26, working 12-hour days in a career that I hated, burnt out and knowing there had to be more. Due to project funding, that job vanished into thin air overnight. At the time I was devastated, though partially relieved, and uncertain of what came next.
The next chapter in my story still strikes me as humorous; try not to laugh. It was a normal midweek evening at home as newlyweds and while flipping through channels I came across a Washington Wizards game. The lead they had built was slipping away and the announcer said: “When things aren’t working, you’ve got to get back to the fundamentals and the things that work.” I found this incredibly profound. Of course, he meant boxing out, getting rebounds, and making free throws, but to me he was saying, “get rid of the fluff and get back to the fundamentals and basics that have worked so far.”
Just days later my husband, in the middle of a frustrating conversation where I probably had “all the feels,” blurted out: “Why don’t you just do your own thing? Just do what you love but do something!” A month later I registered as an LLC in the state of Maryland and the rest is history.
My company has been the continuous scrub of refinement and occasional burns that I’ve needed to grow as a professional. I see God’s hand was all over my mid 20’s “identity crisis,” my failed careers, and the nudging feeling of lack and emptiness. But God knew he made this girl TOUGH, those Latin roots of stubbornness run deep, and He had to let me run my course before I surrendered my ways in favor of HIS.
Twenty-six to 30 was a whirlwind. My husband and I had a baby boy cuter than my wildest dreams, but our marriage was quickly self-destructing in OUR hands. You see, God knew that he had to allow me to destroy the one dream I valued most, marriage and motherhood, for me to pay attention. It was in the silence of those midnight hours that I began to cry out to that God I was taught about as a girl for hope and a fresh start. It took almost losing it all for me to turn to what seemed like my last resort: God.
I remember the weekend I first attended Citizen Heights church. It was the weekend after Thanksgiving and I had spent most of that holiday alone. I walked into an unfamiliar church, broken in a million pieces and needing a safe space to cry and hear from God. What a gift it is now knowing that God is my only option.
The years that followed were a standing ovation to what God does best: miracles. My marriage bounced back stronger than ever, my husband and I were saved and recommitted our lives to God, my business began to thrive, I’ve been entrusted with leadership roles at our church, and our family is growing by one more human being this year.
But it wasn’t in the depths of my marketing and branding “expertise” or growing a team and company that I found my leadership voice; it was in the act of surrendering, admitting that I needed God, learning to decipher his voice from mine, asking for help, and acknowledging that I was lost without Him that I started understanding was true leadership was. All that time I thought leadership meant giving fierce direction, being an alpha female in my business, and working from sunrise to sunset to accomplish what I had set out to do.
I look back with warm affection for that girl. She meant well and she did care.
Through the relationship with my sweet husband, precious baby boy, and the little girl that still lives in me, I’ve learned that TRUE leadership comes in the form of love, peace, faithfulness, joy, goodness, gentleness, patience, self-control, and kindness. Sound familiar? That old Kathy didn’t embody most of these and it is still a daily practice to nail down even a few of these from week to week. As the seasons change and the things on my plate grow, I trust that the stretching is a part of the rebuilding of Kathy.
If you’re anything like me, you come across articles on leadership, and hope for the “1, 2, 3” breakdown of how to go to the next level. Here are my bullet points, friends:
- Be so authentically and unapologetically who God created you to be.
- Don’t be afraid to make the mistakes, live through the seasons of confusion, and find sweet healing in the redemptive moments you’ll experience in God’s holy presence.
- Remember that He’s not done with you. Not even close. You’re the brightest jewel on His crown and others’ destinies depend on you following yours.
It won’t take you long to discover Kathy Dixon‘s love for her wild toddler and Air Force hubby, and her heart for Jesus! When she’s not buzzing around town, she’s usually at the gym lifting heavy things. This entrepreneur and member of Citizen Heights church has yet to hear someone’s story that hasn’t inspired her in someway. Kathy knows first hand what the power of encouragement and what sharing your story and it’s why she always pushes her clients to be bold with theirs.
The Rising conference is going to be a life changing weekend with hundreds of girls, plus guest speakers Holly Wagner, Lisa Bevere, and Jo Saxton. Who are YOU bringing? Don’t wait to REGISTER!
“Going to Conference has been an uplifting and treasured time with girlfriends. The speakers share such powerful testimonies that encourage me long after I leave.” –Sue