Leadership begins by giving away the power to the movement. The individual contributions that everyone else makes far outweigh the capacity of a mere leader to single-highhandedly accomplish. That is why phrases like “We stand, on the shoulders of giants.” have legs. a friend asked what makes a good stagehand the other day and I was instantly transported to a mental state that allowed me to relive all the greatest moments in stagecraft that I have been lucky enough to experience. After reflecting on this for quite some time I realized that what makes a great, fill in the blank is the same the world over and in each and every discipline.
True leaders look alike in so many ways. Sadly, the folks who show up in our history books often got one or two of the qualities right but were primarily just filling power vacuums that developed at opportune moments allowing less qualified individuals to rise to the top positions in failing governments and turbulent times in world history. Leaders give selflessly to a project, movement or idea that hasn’t a chance in hell of success. They often see a grand vision that extends well beyond the realm of common or accepted knowledge. They humbly submit their lives to service of others with little regard for how it can help them personally. They show up when others shirk their responsibilities or wait for others to do things for them. The myriad ways that leadership is expressed can be boiled down to just a few important factors, but as with most important ideas, you know a leader when you see them, even if you can’t put your finger on exactly what sets them apart from the crowd.
What makes a good, “anything” is a qualitative difference from the norm, a certain unique ability to take us beyond our own limits and our old awareness. Doing so with humility and grace. The current #occupy movement is excellent because it has no figurehead, no hierarchy, no leadership as such. Instead each of us, all of the participants are taking leadership by the horns and calling for a different sort of leader to come to the fore that will abide by principles of love, justice and truth. As alien as those concepts are to our current slate of representatives, the public seems energized to get the message through, no matter how little experience our “leaders” may have with them.
as most people drawn to this site already know, intact ecological systems are diversity generators and we need to find social and economic systems that emulate natural systems if we are to find a path to sustainabilty. in nature there are always colonizers and outlyers, folks who open up new territory for the generations that will inevitably follow as well as those who exist outside the normal distribution proving that sheer will can allow life to flourish where conditions are harsh.
Leaders may take us only so far, they know their own limits and are willing to test them, but fess up when they find themselves over their heads or out of their effective range. They also leave room for us to grow, experience for ourselves and learn new ways of seeing the world and interacting with it. Leaders take responsibility for their shortcomings, outright failures and mistakes, but give up the accolades for their successes and victories to those who helped them in their efforts. In keeping with the spirit of the times, I would like to acknowledge the success that each reader has attained on their path to sustainability. Without all of us working in concert and struggling to find a better way of living here on earth, the movement would be dead in the water with no hope of being revived. It is our lives and the energy we all bring to this important work that will find the keys to success.
Thank-you all for being here, trying your best and when mistakes are made, because they always will be, to be aware of them, learn from them and share the stories, not only of what works, but of our failures as well. The movement grows by trial and error as much as by the little successes we find along the way. blessed Be and Namaste’