Good leadership comes from people who have penetrated their own inner darkness and arrived at the place where we are at one with one another, people who can lead the rest of us to a place of ‘hidden wholeness’ because they have been there and know the way.Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak
I’ve certainly been on my own journey of vocation lately. I’ve been to the depths, to (and at least partially through) the darkness, and emerged to ask the questions I’ve repeatedly wrestled with:
- who am I?
- what am I uniquely put here to do?
- what am I uniequely put here to make?
- how will I answer the call of vocation?
I’ve answered these questions, over and over, throughout my life, but always through a hazy filter of the false self, a mask that I cemented in place over decades of hiding, fear, and addictive behavior.
Now I’m trying to answer them from a new place, “the ground of my being,” from the truest self that I can muster, and apart from any pretense or ego.
One of the answers that I used to readily embrace was that of “leader.”
But now I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t like that word, that title. It conjures up images of stressful conversations and navigating measurements and metrics that can be difficult to separate from my self-worth. The title reminds me of the endless list of things to do, the vague feeling of, “Is anything getting done around here? Is anything changing?”
That title, that word, feels tired to me.
But here is what I ALSO heard: I may be tired of the TITLE, the NOUN, but I’m NOT necessarily tired of the VERB.
So while I may not have the title of leader currently (or ever again?), I WILL lead.
I WILL lead, which really only means trying to change what I can change and surrender to what I cannot.
Which is really just good plain common sense.
(PLUS a model for serenity… hmmmmmm…)
So you don’t have to call me a leader. But I will lead where and how I can. And I will try to do it from a new position of true humility, and honesty, and an intimate knowledge of my own limitations and potential for darkness.
And I will try—very hard—not to do this for my own sake, but for the sake of my friends, my community, and the world.