It’s hard to believe that more than six months have passed since I first posted on this blog. The realization of this milestone has really caused me to reflect on many aspects of the process. The first thing that comes to mind is the gratitude I feel to those who have followed my journey, encouraged me, provided feedback and ideas, and contributed to the conversation on various posts.
There are also a number of other areas that give me cause for thought.
The creative process and the act of forming words into a story has given me great joy. In my own journey into more essential living I have learned that the need to express and create are strong in us when we live as our essential selves, and this blog has allowed me those outlets.
I have really loved combining photos into the posts. photography is something I’ve always enjoyed, and the opportunity to use of that art form has been gratifying. So has creating graphics as I have done for this post.
Each post I write causes me to think about what I truly believe, and as a consequence who I want to be as a leader. I know many of you personally so “talking the talk” isn’t good enough. There has to be an intention to act as well.
In my essential journey towards a more authentic way of living and leading, it was eye-opening to me to gain an understanding of the power of vulnerability. Writing publicly each week has put that concept into action for me, and I’ve found that it has helped me develop even further in this direction.
The most important thoughts running through my mind are about the true nature of leading essentially. I have been considering the question: is essential leadership is more about the way we lead ourselves vs. the way we lead others?
Perhaps this is a bit of a chicken and egg question.
On one hand it is possible to learn and to act upon the principles of essential leadership without actually living the principles oneself. However to do so would be paradoxical, as our behaviours would be so obviously out of alignment with our guidance to others. Without the ability to manage our own reactions, listen openly with all our senses, ask ourselves essential questions about our role in a situation, to simply be totally present at each moment any attempt on our part to ask others to engage in this manner would not be taken seriously.
On the other hand to lead ourselves essentially would mean continuous presence and self alignment, connection with others, a focus on our true passions, and a strong desire to contribute to the well-being of our community/organization.
If we stopped there are we actually leading others by example as well? Or is it necessary that we act in a formal leadership capacity utilizing the meme of essential leadership for us to be considered to be considered to truly be leading in this fashion? Will others actually embrace the patterns of living essentially simply witnessing them in action? Or is some coaching, mentoring or other form of encouragement a necessary part of moving us along a new path of aligning our passions with our work?
I’m not sure I’ve fully answered this question for myself yet, but I have probably drawn the following conclusions so far:
- It is not possible to lead essentially without living essentially.
- By living essentially we actually do, in some way, lead others towards living more essentially.
- In order to shift the leadership culture of a group, it is necessary to consciously employ the principles of essential leadership on a day-to-day basis.
- Essential leadership can be applied at many levels from individual leader, to business unit to organizations. In order to have the greatest impact, the model should be adopted at the highest level possible. Living essentially is a journey, not a destination, and so is leading essentially.
What are your thoughts on this topic? Which is more important for a leader? To live essentially or to lead essentially? Would a broad adoption of an Essential Leadership model positively or negatively impact the effectiveness of an organization?