Home Concepts Adult Development Peak Life Experiences: The Beginning of Emerging Sage Leadership

Peak Life Experiences: The Beginning of Emerging Sage Leadership

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And then there is the amazing story of the emerging sage leader who had an experience that no woman ever had before:

At age 24, I moved to Salt Lake City and organized the American Women’s Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Ten months after forming a team of the top female mountain climbers and explorers in the world, I was dropped from the team—supposedly for not having sufficient experience. This was the first all-women’s team to make it to the South Pole. I moved back to Nevada County, worked to save money, and then went to fish commercially in the Alaskan Gulf. During this time I also trained Iditarod sled dogs in order to get ready for my solo trans-Alaska expedition, skiing 600 miles down the frozen Yukon River pulling a 160 pound sled behind me. I then spent time in an Athabascan village building a traditional canoe. This became my transportation for the last 900 miles and 11 days of my 1500-mile journey. I was the first woman ever to accomplish this—one hundred years after my great grandfather had done the same thing.

Birthing and parenting

A number of emerging sages have been transformed by having had children and learning how to effectively parent them. Another became politicized by her pregnancy experience when, in a vulnerable state, she realized how manipulative and unsupportive society can be with pregnancy and birth. And a third had a life-changing experience that put her on the career path to child development when she witnessed a pregnant mother who had no idea of how to mother her child.

Collective and Shared Experiences

Some peak experiences of emerging sages have involved important relationships with other people—whether these were positive, negative or a mixture of both.

Work experiences

Emerging sage leaders identify a variety of work-related experiences that have been life-changing. One points to difficulties she experienced in learning the different ways that men and women are treated in the workplace, and another attributes transitioning from being an hourly worker to a supervisor as illuminating. While managing the store of a national retail chain one emerging sage leader was told she was not a good merchant and would need to find another niche in the organization, which she very successfully did—in marketing. A young, green attorney realized she had to choose between helping the individual client or changing systems that impact domestic violence victims, so she gave up a promising law practice and chose the alternative. The zoo provided one sage leader the opportunity to build a fund development program, which she found she enjoyed and was good at. Another got a position working in the county CEO’s office and had her eyes opened to the “big picture,” which enabled her to see how little changes could make big differences. And one emerging sage leader learned something important about being an artist:

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