You may not be a leader of a small group or organization or family or project, but you can be a leader of yourself. Emily P. Freeman quoted a few lines from the blessing below on her podcast recently and I wanted the entire thing to live for however long this blog lives.
Emily talks about the great value in being a well-differentiated leader, one not paralyzed or limited by people-pleasing. One major way is the ability to lead oneself.
The antidote to people pleasing is not a lack of care or breezy indifference. No, it’s actually learning to care in a different way, a truer way, a way as one who is a well-differentiated leader. The secret about people pleasing is it doesn’t actually please the people. Because what wounded anxious people need most is not you as they think you ought to be. But is the solid presence of a well-differentiated leader who insists on being okay with or without their consent. This is as true for a parent as it is true for a president.Emily P. Freeman
John O’Donohue’s Blessing for a New Leader:
May you have the grace and wisdom
To act kindly, learning
To distinguish between what is
Personal and what is not
May you be hospitable to criticism.
May you never put yourself at the center of things.
May you act not from arrogance but out of service.
May you work on yourself,
Building and refining the ways of the mind.
May you learn to cultivate the art of presence
In order to engage with those who meet you.
When someone fails or disappoints you,
May the graciousness with which you engage
Be their stairway to renewal and refinement.
May you treasure the gifts of the mind
Through reading and creative thinking
So that you continue as a servant of the frontier
Where the new will draw its enrichment of the old,
And you never become a functionary.
May you know the wisdom of deep listening
The healing of wholesome words,
The encouragement of the appreciative gaze,
The decorum of held dignity,
The springtime edge of the bleak question.
May you have a mind that loves frontiers
So that you can evoke the bright fields
That lie beyond the view of the regular eye.
May you have good friends
To mirror your blind spots.
May leadership be for you
A true adventure of growth.
From the book “Benedictus”