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At Leadercast, you will often hear us talking about the individual aspect of leadership. Our company is founded on the concept that leadership is not about a title – it is about values and behaviors that inspire others; that put others first; that define “Beyond You” leadership. And it all starts with self-leadership. How can we possibly lead others if we are not continually developing our ability to lead ourselves?
Self-leadership is where my thoughts have landed in response to the fatal shootings of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and Dallas law enforcement officials, Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael J. Smith, Brent Thompson and Patrick Zamarripa.
The world is heartbroken. And the healing must start within each of us, as individuals. While many people are taking sides or pointing fingers, others are addressing the fear and pain within individuals – and within is the only place that self-leadership can start.
My friend, Mary Simpson, a life coach and energy healer, recently wrote, “We cannot heal or create change by judging others; by perpetuating fear or violence.” As a first step, she suggests that we stop and ask ourselves: “What can I heal within myself so that I can hold more space for love and light for myself, and therefore, others?”
She adds that pitting ourselves against one another is not a solution. Blame is the perpetuation of fear, hurt and anger, as opposed to a collected response of helping others feel heard, valued and accepted.
As our Director of Partner Relationships, Tai Anderson, wrote in his recent blog, each instance of violence makes our hearts break again. The escalation seems overwhelming – what can one person do? We can start with self-leadership. The better we are able to understand, accept and embrace ourselves and a human-first set of values, the better we will be able to understand and accept others. As we heal ourselves, says Mary, we have more compassion and can hold more space for others to do the same.
And leading others is tangential to leading self, isn’t it? According to former CNN anchor Sharon Frame in The Theory of We, “There’s something [in our world] that is ripping apart the fiber of ethical leadership. There needs to be a resetting of the compass, because if that’s what leadership looks like, if that’s what we’re telling our young people, they will emulate that. Instead, we have to honor all human beings and as a culture say, ‘That is wrong.’ We need leaders at the top who are implementing what I call, ‘The theory of we.’ When you have the theory of we, it’s all about how does everybody rise? How can we make sure collectively we are in the best interest of everybody?
The world is brokenhearted. And yet, says Andy Stanley, that heartache can drive change and hope. In his video, What Breaks Your Heart?, Andy explains, “Most social movements that have impacted the world began with someone whose heart was so broken over an issue, over what was happening in their community, their school system, their city, their world, that they decided something has to be done and they decided not to take no for an answer.”
They decided to act on the question, “What breaks your heart?”