When the world needs you
“How we spend our days, is of course, how we spend our lives” wrote Annie Dillard. I find that how we spend our days is also how we LEAD a life.
Leading can be a painful subject to bring up in the messy and lost world we live in today. Leadership has become an ironed-out word flattened by bad example and manipulation.
Let me ask you this: Do you consider yourself a leader?
I love the way Susan Sontag speaks about the writer’s job, which for me reflects the true way of a true leader:
“If literature … embodies a wisdom - it is by demonstrating the multiple nature of our private and our communal destinies. It will remind us that there can be contradictions, sometimes irreducible conflicts, among the values we most cherish.”
Writers fret about words. Leaders fret about opinions. The problem with opinions is that they are sticky. One gets to stuck to them, becoming covered in glue, unable to move as flexibly as life really demands.
Genuine leadership means that we need to find a way to navigate the choppy waters that collide with the shore: When you appreciate your spiritual upbringing, but need to be your own master; When you desire to express and share your vulnerability, but are afraid to get hurt; When you can be compassionate and forgiving towards those who hurt you, but don’t want or need to forget….
I ask myself who I consider to be leaders, and faces come to visit me - Virginia Wolf, David Thoreau, John O’Donohue, Maya Angelou, Rebecca Solnit…. You get the picture.
I look at writers and poets as leaders because they take the liberty to lead a way by sharing a perspective rather than imposing an opinion. By reawakening the desire to create and be better humans rather than setting standards and policies that seem to be the farthest possible away from our true daily life.
If you have a solid, authentic vision, one that emerges from your own true nature - to me you are a leader! You are more valuable to your family, your friends, your community, the world when you take the liberty to follow your vision and not be afraid of the paradoxical nature of being human.
And you, you are so close to your own vision like no one else can be. It means you are intimately close to your value in this world. And the world needs you. It needs the individual vision that can carry us away from the overgrowth of norms and mainstreams. Yes, you can!
So once again: Do you consider yourself a leader?
Note: Any change on the scale from your first reply to your second brings you closer to home.
For the love of the free spirits wherever you are.