Leadership can manifest in a variety of ways, and probably, we almost always associate it with career, business, politics or any religious/spiritual movement. Not all of us will be put in those situations, though, neither do we need to be in order to be in a position of leadership.
By default, we’re already the leaders of our own lives. Inevitably so, we are always influencing each other’s preferences, decisions and behavior.
We define leadership in a range of responsibilities and character traits that we think are part of the package of what it means to be a leader.
I’ve had my own struggles when it comes to leadership. Not sure yet how it all began, or if its just an intrinsic part of my character, but I’ve always felt conflicted towards what I assumed were “persons of authority” – from my parents, to my older relatives, to my teachers, religious leaders, health practitioners, bosses. There’s a part of me who just couldn’t fully trust them. While my peers blindly obeyed their parents, my classmates befriended our teachers, and my colleagues befriended our bosses, I kept my distance and gravitated towards my own ground instead.
I have learned at a young age to not trust their opinions of me completely – regardless if they’re positive or negative. I just didn’t accept them at face value, and instead, relied on my own self-awareness and self-evaluation. I didn’t always question their opinions outwardly, but I made sure to rely on my own judgment as the final word. I paid attention, did my research and used my critical thinking.
I’ve had my own share of rebellions at each stage of my life, to varying degrees, and it hasn’t been a smooth ride, as those of you who’ve been on a similar path would surely know. I didn’t get fair treatment from teachers for refusing to act like their pet, I’ve had messy, antagonistic fights with my parents because of decisions I made which contradicted their advice, I’ve been overlooked for promotions at work because I wouldn’t wanna open up to my bosses, and yes – I’ve had a couple of police beatings, too, for choosing to stand up for my rights and principles.
It’s as if the world pushed me back the more I dared to stand up. I would get beaten whenever I opted to use my own mind. I was banished for merely embracing myself.
I have made, and continue to make, quite unpopular decisions – decisions that made me look bad to others and sometimes, most of all, to myself. I’ve made decisions that have created conflicts and enemies I never intended to create. I have polarized camps, stirred discourses to a boiling degree and pushed for decisive resolutions before everyone else was ready.
It didn’t even take me so long before I earned the status of The Bitch. When one dares to be authentic, especially when one is a woman, this would inevitably happen sooner than one might expect. On the other hand, it took me quite longer before I finally got the lesson behind my life-long struggle with leadership.
It has come full circle for me lately. Life wanted me to learn that at the heart of each leader’s long list of responsibilities lies only one common thing – the need and the ability to make decisions, day in and day out.
A leader’s job, above all, it to make decisions – especially, difficult ones. And more often than not, these decisions have to be done before one is ready to do so, before one has gathered all the facts and has deliberated the pros and cons. More often than not, a leader has to rely on her/his own judgment, or what we sometimes call, intuition. Consequently, the one who makes the decision gets either the praise or the beating as a result, even though many others, no matter how anonymous they may be, have also participated in the decision-making process in one way or another.
One can either be a good or a bad leader, and this is entirely situational. It is also secondary.
Before one can fully take the role of leadership, one must be able to make difficult decisions first. One must be able to step in the middle of the circle, in complete acceptance of one’s accountability to the consequences that may follow – including the unforeseen ones.
Each of us has been entrusted with her/his own sword to cut through the fog of life, but only leaders dare use them.
No one can proceed in her/his own path without carving her/his own way through. Thus, cutting through the fog becomes imperative for all of us.
We can choose to either actively carve our path out or be shoved all the way through it – the decision is ours.
It’s a hero’s journey – all our lives are – because it’s the one that requires us to be in our full capacity. It’s where timelines are shrunk into one and all we have is the power of Now. It’s the journey which invites the I to step up and be seen. It’s where all our possibilities intersect and The Potential is maximized.
When we step up, wave our sword and slice through the fog ahead us, we are inevitably paving the way for others as well. And from a wider perspective we are all progressing towards one major path.
By cutting through it individually, we are also making the path more visible and more accessible for everyone.
Again, one doesn’t need to be in a position of leadership at a bigger, more recognized scale. By default, we’re already the leaders of our own lives. Inevitably so, we are always influencing each other’s preferences, decisions and behavior – continuously co-creating reality as we know it. We must take our place in co-creation since the reality that ends up manifesting is the reality we must also live in. May it be the reality that lifts us higher.