Anyone that knows me well knows that I HATE being front and center and acting as a “leader”. I have said in the past I’m not a leader, no group is “my group”, I own nothing. I’m just a facilitator, organizer, or a guide. Yet as much as I dislike it, I often find myself in leadership or key influencer roles. When I see something problematic and all around is indecision, when the issues call out for a voice or an actor to break the paralysis or chaos, then I will reluctantly take on that responsibility.
I prefer to remain behind the scenes; to act as another leaders advisor. I analyze, provide input, develop strategies – but I don’t try to sell any message, any belief other than perhaps being responsible and ethical. I’m not taking ownership of anyones success or challenges because, in reality, all I can do is try to open doors and remove blockades, but everyone else needs to do their part of the work. So I often refuse taking on a role of a leader, even when others try to put me there.
Its not therefore unusual folks insist I embrace the label of leader. I fight against it, resist it, and would rather pretty much do anything else. It was once asked of me to step up not because its what I myself feel like or want, but rather because of what I do – or don’t do. I don’t seek power because I don’t need approval, attempting to fill a void fueled by insecurity. I don’t seek influence or position because I don’t believe in the typical game of competition and dominance OVER others to be content or feel successful. As a rule, I’m always highly suspicious of anyone that Desires power and influence – because its rarely ever for a good reason.
Funny story: I used to own a co-op/condo apartment where the community board was holding meetings, and I attended. Many neighbors were present, and angry at the priorities of the board and a string of recent decisions. When I started asking uncomfortable questions and offered challenging suggestions the other owners wanted to “draft” me into a board position. No thanks – I’m active enough, and always available if you want help as a volunteer advisor, but I don’t want that seat. Thank you, but no.
I am content, I need nothing, and secure in myself to the point where I can walk with alone (and often do) with an independent ease and comfort. All I want to do is provide “just enough” structure to facilitate resolving key matters that seem to be concerned by MOST of a group or community. In essence, I have nothing to risk by standing up for what I truly believe in for I have all I need or want. But when I see something I belief is amiss, all I can try to do is bring my best and authentic self to the table, offer what I can, and see how it plays out. If that effort is accepted, then great – I’ve done a good thing by helping. If it’s rejected, well then that’s fine too, albeit disappointing. Either way I’ve upheld my values and acted accordingly, free to go about my business with a clear conscious and able to look myself in the mirror.
If I say nothing, do nothing, then I too am part of the problem – which I cannot abide. If no one listens, then I will walk my own path to my own standards, able to respect myself. Which is why I say I’m not a Leader, because I hope others share and support, but will not insist on them following. Of course, what I just described is pretty much the definition of a reluctant leader. Very reluctant I am, leader I am not.
I advocate, educate, and offer – and what you do with that is solely up to you.