I’m a lifelong learner. My pull to absorb new information, perspectives, skills and knowledge has always been strong. I’m deeply curious- it’s in my nature. In the past couple years, as I’ve immersed myself in transformational work, my desire to learn has intensified. It’s like I’m wearing this lens, and I find myself asking on a regular basis, what is here for me to learn?
In the past few weeks, I’ve been gifted with so many learning opportunities. And learned I have! I thought I’d share what I’ve discovered- in particular about leadership, commitment, creativity and community.
– It’s not always graceful or pretty. It’s often clumsy and messy.
– If you want to change the status quo, leadership is required. You must be willing to say the thing. You have to use your voice, speak up, challenge. Silence will get you nowhere, and if you’re not willing to speak, lead, step up, then your complaints are just grousing. Basically, put up, or shut up.
– When you show up as a leader, you open yourself up to criticism. It’s part of the deal. I am a person who REALLY likes to be liked. Leadership requires that you put that down. You WILL be disliked. It is virtually inevitable that feathers will be ruffled by your leadership. You may have hurt feelings.
– This makes sense though. After all, you are shaking things up. Human beings can be known to resist change, to get complacent, to find comfort in the way things are- even if the way things are is not particularly beneficial.
– Lick your wounds, take care of yourself, but don’t stop. And if you’re in community (see below), this is a lot easier.
– There aren’t a whole lot of rules with leadership. There isn’t a “right way” to accomplish the goal. However, you do not get to be an asshole or a bully. Assholes and bullies are not good leaders.
– Given that there could be meanness, stonewalling, all sorts of frustrations and noise on the leadership path, commitment becomes exceedingly important.
– Figure out early on what you are standing for and what you are committed to.
– An empowered relationship to your commitment will be your north star on your leadership path. If you are clear on your commitment and empowered around it, all of the inevitable bumps and noise will have very little impact on you.
– When you’re committed to a thing, you sort of exist outside the realm of time. It’s not that time doesn’t matter, and you certainly can and should bring urgency to your leadership when it’s called for. It is simply that the commitment shapes the experience.
– When I’m committed, I can bring urgency but I can also be uncharacteristically patient.
– If you are clear and empowered around the commitment, you can embody and be that commitment and act consistently with it, and it isn’t hard. Being and doing in alignment with the commitment becomes as basic as breathing. It just IS.
– Leadership will require tenacity, persistence and consistency. Empowered commitment will enable these ways of being and then some. You may get tired, discouraged, resigned… but the commitment will revive and reignite you.
– Complaining may feel good (I LOVE MY COMPLAINTS), but it is only marginally useful- particularly in the context of leadership. You’re leading for something. You’re standing for some sort of disruption. You will need to get creative so that you are heard.
– Status quo is embedded with an “is-ness.” It is concretized. Something new and different will be needed to dismantle it.
– If you are here to cause change and want people to listen, be responsible not only for what you are saying and doing but how you are saying and doing it.
– Entertain all new ideas. Nothing has worked historically, so the past will not be useful. Brainstorm, get quiet, practice. Find new ways to make “them” listen.
– When you’ve built your community (see below), embrace all that is good and magical there. Trust your team to bring their brilliance and be humble and open enough to use all of the assets for the collective good.
– Leadership, commitment and creativity are all fantastic and necessary to cause a new result, but without community, the experience is far less enjoyable and the result far less inevitable.
– A responsible and effective leader creates partnership, welcomes community and remains open to collective action and ideas.
– Changing the status quo is unnecessarily hard in isolation. Find people. Enroll them. Listen to them. Work together. It is so much more effective and fun this way.
– Human beings are wired for connection. We are not meant to be going at “it” alone.
– Working in community with others is not akin to a using a mathematical multiplier. It’s exponential but more than that. There’s some je ne sais quoi, magical, miraculous force at play when you are in community behind a common goal.
– In the community you create, it isn’t necessary or even practical to agree on every single step on the path. What matters is that you are aligned on the commitment. Don’t get bogged down if there is “dissension in the ranks.” Who cares? And actually, pursuit of different strategies could be useful. Go for alignment, not agreement.
– When you are in community, connection and partnership, ego is irrelevant, and so is “credit” for any individual action.
– A community of parents aligned on a commitment to an objective that is in the best interests of their children is totally, completely, ferociously unstoppable.