5/30 In search of “Van Gogh’s Cypresses” (and what it sparked about leadership)

In Search Of Van Gogh’s Cypresses

As I made my way to brush my teeth, I was a woman with purpose. I was planning to see the Van Gogh exhibit at the Met, including “Starry night.” During member hours 9-10am, I get the museum all to myself, before the public comes storming in.
Always a little overwhelmed when I go to the Met, I moved slowly, absorbing one painting at a time. The entire exhibit was focused on cypress trees. Van Gogh was obsessed with painting these “upside down trees” in 1889. It was a year he took refuge in an asylum for his mental health issues. It was the year before he took his own life.
Like gazing up at Michelangelo’s “David” I thought about leadership in viewing some of his seminal works:
🔴 Van Gogh was all about emotional states of people and the cycle of life. Bold colors. Sweeping, lumpy brush strokes, generous with the paint. His unique style made him stand out from his peers. I’m coaching the 8 women in my Mastermind to give a deeply impactful Tedx style talk on a NYC stage November 16th. We are just back from a deep reflection and writing retreat that is in service of that talk. One of the questions I asked to stoke deep emotion, was “what is something you have never told someone before?” I could have heard a pin drop in the room during these deeply personal shares.
🔴 Van Gogh wasn’t accepted by the art world while alive. He went seeking community and innovative minds in Paris. There he met some of the great Impressionist and Post impressionist artists of the time. Van Gogh only gained fame after he died. Leadership can be lonely. I feel it many days. Where can you go to find community and like minded people? A friend of mine just made partner. She said being in this ‘behind the closed door’ circle, the conversations are patently different.
🔴 Van Gogh pushed boundaries and took risks in his art with bold colors and big expressive brushstrokes. He experimented with technique and style. He was unapologetic about who he was. I often hear women ask, “How can I be more of my authentic self at work?” They have one ‘operating system’ for work and another ‘operating system’ for home, friends and family. It gets exhausting.I’m working with them to see how to merge the two
I’m writing you this morning from Paris where I am hosting client strategy days. Join the waitlist here. I’m also hosting these one on one sprints in Istanbul (August) and Barcelona (December) this year

More Posts