What if we viewed our work as a way to make sense of our suffering. Not as a source of suffering. If we truly saw ourselves as able to make a difference in our promise to do just that. When I consider leadership I mean helping someone else be the best version of themselves, in service to making impact in their own unique way. For me at this stage of my life, it's about eldership, not that one has to be an elder to be a leader but it is for me. Eldership is doing what counts now, that will flourish in the future, way after I am gone. And so too is leadership, creating the means for others to flourish, much like being a mentor. It is truly one of the best ways to make meaning out of life. At nearly 65 years of age, I can think of few things that are better than helping someone add to the list of people who aren't putting profit and making money ahead of finding a problem to solve (and there are plenty), finding the means to solve that problem and then keeping their promise to show up, no matter what.
For 20 years I have worked in remote communities in far north western Australia alongside Aboriginal families and organisations, we worked together to maintain and protect an ancient culture. To do this one of the ways I tried out with groups was a participatory planning tool, Stepping Stones. Not knowing if anything will work is well, a mantra in my line of work because that too is a big part of leadership. Ok let's give this a go, we don't know if it will work but we will do our best with the intention to solve a problem.
This tool worked over and over. Again and again. But the prevailing culture hasn't ever taken it up, in the way the people using it have. Which to me is ironical and deeply perplexing, given that it has clearly been something that has solved some problems. There are too many deeply entrenched habits and profoundly repetitive cycles of dominance and substantial amounts of ignorance and incompetence; someone has to be the victim in that story.