By: Rockell Bartoli | Article from 2019 Fall CLT Magazine

As a professional speaker, I LOVE going to different schools and universities to work with students. However, traveling isn’t always the most fun thing to do. My least favorite thing about traveling, besides having to sit in the middle seat, is the packing and unpacking process. I don’t know about you, but I start doing a mental luggage check as I’m on my way to the airport to make sure I packed everything. Deodorant, check, lotion, check, dress shoes, check. Then I finally arrive to the airport with time to spare and proceed to the ticket counter to check in my bag.

It was one such moment that I learned a great lesson. I placed my suitcase on the scale, and the agent gave my suitcase that look. She quickly informed me that my suitcase was too heavy, and it would cost me an additional $30 to check in my bag. I was going to have to pay $60 in total to bring this suitcase; I was pretty annoyed. I packed what I’d normally pack to go speak at a school and maybe like 30 copies of my book and a few other unnecessary things. I didn’t think it would make a huge difference, but I was sadly mistaken. A heavy load meant I was going to pay the price.

So, I advise you to lighten your load on your leadership journey or it’s going to cost you. There are a few things we need to work on removing from our bags, so they don’t weigh us down along the way.


Let’s start with self-doubt because it’s a really heavy one. Stop doubting that this journey is for you; stop doubting that you can accomplish your goals. Replace those thoughts with the fact that you can accomplish and do whatever you put your mind to. Lean into your team and other individuals that can support you when self-doubt is knocking at your door. Remind yourself that it’s OK to stumble, fail, and realign while you’re on this journey. It’s a part of the process and if you give up now, you won’t get the chance to see what could have been. Once you remove self-doubt from the picture, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can move around without that heavy weight holding you back. “You are bigger than your self-doubt. Remind yourself of that each and every day.” -Caroline Ghosn

Stop Comparing Yourself

The leadership journey isn’t easy, but it is a lot of fun. You get to meet new people, create a vision, take action, and help others to become their best self. But while you’re on this journey, please don’t forget to take comparison out of your luggage. Comparison takes up a lot of unnecessary space that could be filled with much better things. Comparison not only has the potential to weigh you down, but it can also distract you from your destination. You are uniquely made to do that which you have set out to do. Take an inventory of yourself and identify your strengths and weaknesses. Focus your time and efforts on improving your weaknesses and utilizing your strengths to create change, empower your team, and bring your vision to life. Look at others as a source of motivation and as a resource, not to compare yourself. Your journey. Your destiny. No one else’s.

Let It Go

Now, I know it’s not always easy having to part from the things we’ve been holding onto for so many years, but if you want to be an effective leader to your peers and to yourself, then you’re going to have to let it all go. The fear, self-doubt, comparison, and negative self-talk will cost you more than you can imagine. “Pack Light” is what American singer and songwriter Erykah Badu sings in her song, “Bag Lady.” Take what’s necessary for this journey; grit, determination, patience, and heart. You’ll pick up the rest along the way.


Rockell Bartoli is a professional speaker and author. She has spoken to thousands of students and has delivered empowering messages for notable organizations. One of her most recent speaking engagements was APCA’s 15th Annual Leadership on Broadway Experience. Contact: | | 1-800-778-6259