Our human world is ever hungry for leadership. We seek it, celebrate it, do our best to provide it. Sometimes due to desire, we project it onto others when it’s not there. Alas, we’re inevitably disappointed when our exalted leaders turn out to be exactly as flawed as we are.
But what if instead of looking for people flawlessly imbued with the qualities we seek, we look for those qualities themselves, regardless of how and in whom they manifest? Can we then celebrate and cultivate those qualities without disappointment, and with greater positive effect in the world? I believe so.
Take gratitude, for example. I find that to be a prime quality of leadership, whether I find it in others or within. Gratitude offers remarkable properties of transformation. It’s effective in affecting change in our actions and interactions, even when those we’re interacting with aren’t aware that it’s the basis for our ways.
I find that when I act from a place of gratitude for all that is well—even within a badly broken time—my edges and angers fade. I’m not acting in response to pain, but seeking to share the joy in my places of refuge. I’m not becoming what I fight by focusing my energy on resistance. I find more appreciation in the details of the day, whether that is in the beauty in another soul, or the unique fleeting quality of light that rings the sun one afternoon sky.
When I look for leadership in qualities, and don’t demand perfection in their attainment in ourselves and othes, I find I can release many of the demands I make on myself, on others, and on the shapes of the world. I don’t need so much for everything to always be what and who and how I desire, in order to be happy and bring my best to the day.
Again using gratitude as an example, I find that a world in which I personally act grateful begins to change around me, in ways that are first small and yet miraculous. It builds into far more, as gratitude is just as contagious as fear but more positive. And isn’t inspiring positive change the essence of what leadership is?
So let our leaders be, not fallible people, but those higher leaders including gratitude, compassion, kindness, faith, mercy… You can name other leaders as easily as I can, for those leaders are within and around you too. They’re limitless in form. They’re infallible even when we ourselves are faulty. They’re ongoing even when we’re gone. They’re immensely solid despite being invisible and ethereal.
How wonderful it is to discover that we have the leaders we’ve always sought, and they’re already here, never leaving.