The great events of world history are, at bottom, profoundly unimportant. In the last analysis, the essential thing is the life of the individual. This alone makes history, here alone do the great transformations first take place, and the whole future, the whole history of the world, ultimately springs as a gigantic summation from these hidden sources in individuals. In our most private and most subjective lives we are not only the passive witnesses of our age, and it sufferers, but also its makers. We make our own epoch – Carl Jung
More than ever before the world needs people to connect to themselves.
Our society rewards bankers who steal, businessmen who lie, shareholders who extract and sportsmen who cheat. We face a crisis of leadership and it’s man-made.
Feeling powerless, disconnected and left behind by uncaring societies, it is natural to look outside of ourselves: to political leaders, someone, anyone, that will take the lead to sort out this mess. But, when good men, powerful men, fail to generate the political capital to make a difference, it’s time to recognise that we must connect to ourselves, to our own power. We are the ones we have been waiting for.
But we are failing to equip people to lead this kind of change. Some gentle warriors are ground down by the seeming stupidity and ignorance of those who don’t seem to understand that their actions are unsustainable. Unable to continue on their leadership path, they invest their energy in their families, communities and pursuits worthy and deserving of their talents. Others battle through the labyrinth, slaying many dragons along the way, only to discover that their voice will never drown out those “intellectually incoherent” voices intent on maintaining the paradigm of short-termism, profit and shareholder value. It’s hard to make a difference.
Sustaining ourselves in such a world is challenging. For those of us who wish to create a different world, to do things differently, to lead from the heart, we must expect to be lonely: “it’s lonely to get to the future first” as someone once said. How, therefore do we develop the resilience required to make an impact?
In Perseverance Margaret Wheatley, suggests that patience and compassion are the only remedies. We must avoid the trap of judging those who steal, lie, extract and cheat. Rather, we must re-define our task and challenge ourselves to become gentle guides to the world as we see it, not fierce advocates for our view of reality. We must not flee, but become warriors for the human spirit.
I suggest the way we the cultivate the patience and compassion required to persevere in our leadership task is by first connecting to ourselves. To our own wisdom and intelligence, to what makes us feel alive, to what brings our meaning to life. This is our “battery” – the source of our energy and our optimism. That which will power the effort required to keep showing up and to lead for change one day at a time.
This is a call to ask you not to wait until a “cement shaking” experience jolts you out of comfort and complacency. It is a call to ask that you to find the courage to choose to live and lead consciously, intentionally and by your highest calling, now. To make your own epoch, starting today.