The past several months have been very interesting. While Leading as Love has been very well received and provoked much dialogue with others, my coaching and consulting work has been nonexistent. Perhaps the challenge of living Leading as Love appears insurmountable to potential clients.
Life is like a treasure hunt when we pay attention. One day, we receive a clue that causes a shift in perspective or a look in a different direction for the next clue. After a long series of such clues, I came to realize that my work with Leading as Love is not at the individual or organizational levels. In fact, I was limiting its purpose by seeing it as a “branding” for my work. I was constraining Leading as Love to fit into my self-perceived identity as a coach and consultant. Looking back, this is very evident. I just didn’t want to see myself as an originator of a potential social “movement.”
Leading as Love is meant to be at the societal level, to shift the social context about what leadership is and gives leadership meaning. My primary work is as a leadership commentator within the context of Leading as Love. I greatly enjoy writing and speaking from this perspective, using events on the world stage as examples – business, government, education and religion – and “calling out” when people are and are not leading or when they incessantly equate managing with leading. I have a point of view and I love being an instigator.
Broader Context – Why This Matters
We have described “leadership” until we are “blue in the face”, changing nothing because we have failed to understand the fundamentals of true leadership within our social-collective relationships. Our underlying mental model continues to be that leading equals managing. In addition, we also misunderstand “love.” Love is not an emotion or an abstract concept that few understand let alone live. Like the elusive Higgs Boson, love is an energetic dynamic of our inherent connection with one another. It is a place of neutral balance that invites all to step forward. Leading as Love acknowledges this dynamic to enable a practical restructuring of our relationships. If we keep going the way we are, we are following those we have given our power to off a cliff. You might think of Leading as Love as a voice for and of a majority of people. As the line from the 1976 movie, Network, goes: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
Leading as Love has a simple message: We lead people and manage things.
Establish common ground
Serve the greater good
To be a true leader requires living an intention of love:
Care about everyone’s dignity and well-being
Understand without judgment
Respect without control
Respond fully to current context
Leading as Love establishes a new social context, common ground that serves the greater good.
Leading as Love may not be welcome by the powers that be who often want nothing more than to maintain the status quo. Leading is a sacred trust and leaders have no “sacred cows.” This trust has been betrayed in a very big way. The reality is that our social structures are breaking down because our relationships are primarily based in self-serving, self-interest – exploitation. Any sense of “belonging” we have is primarily based in consumerism rather than citizenship and contribution. Through social conditioning, our families, churches, schools, workplaces and government have programmed us to be compliant, hindering our freedom and limiting our possibilities.
We all are tired of the apparent divisive politics, greed and destructive acts of corporations, arrogance in academia and self-righteous religions and want change. How are we willing to make it happen? These judgments and labels limit us; they lock us into a viewpoint that eliminates possibilities and potential. It’s time to take back our power. The one change that changes everything is that we hold ourselves accountable for leading our lives. No finger-pointing. It starts with us. Only those with the strength and courage to step outside the prevailing belief that leaders “out there” should be “in control” and “do something”, will be open to this message. Leading as Love as a social context allows us make choices that can bring breakthrough rather than breakdown. By holding ourselves accountable for leading our lives, we naturally lead others and no longer follow those who oppress us. We make choices and take actions that hold those with positions of authority accountable for establishing common ground and serving the greater good, as we have.
Those that appear divisive, greedy, destructive, arrogant, or self-righteous are actually doing us a great service. Thank them. As long as we don’t get stuck in the judgment and labels, they are providing a contrast that shows us what we don’t want so that we can make a choice to open possibilities that create different social structures that enhance life for all.
Leading as Love enables everyone to lead lives of dignity, well-being, possibility and fulfillment. Anyone can choose to live this way; it does not require a position or authority “over” others. Authority comes from personal experience, not from a role, ideology or “rules” within someone else’s game. Leading as Love is a game-changer and offers a way to engage with one another with conscious choice and for who or what we “follow”, free from blind compliance to programmed beliefs and ideologies that keep us imprisoned in the way things are.
What Leading as Love is Up To – How You Can Join In or Contribute
The value of changing the conversation about what it means to be a leader is that Leading as Love becomes an integral part of the solution. Leading as Love is intended to be a social movement, to bring awareness that there is an alternative: To hold ourselves accountable for being leaders, for leading our lives, where we stand for caring about the dignity and well-being of everyone, including ourselves. It’s time to wake up to our own power. A monumental shift can start with us, here and now.
Moving forward, our focus is to broadcast the message in a big way, to generate “reach.” We are available for speaking and to provide commentary and dialogue on leadership from the place that leading is about people, our humanness and realizing our potential, where we are succeeding and where we are falling short. We welcome any referrals or suggestions for “outlets” to offer written or audio/video commentary on a syndicated basis or speaking opportunities to a wide variety of audiences. And whatever you would like to do to spread the word or suggest ways that we can get the word out would be welcome and greatly appreciated.
We are also available to provide assessment and commentary at an individual, organizational or societal level – some “tough love” – with a powerful and focused perspective for coaching and consulting for those who chose to align with Leading as Love as their primary intention for relationship. If you are interested in incorporating Leading as Love into your current practices or you would like to be “certified” or receive referrals, please contact me.
Finally, in light of all of this, we are accepting contributions – financial and time and talent – to support Leading as Love in becoming a highly visible alternative that can potentially help to pull us out of the quagmire of endless debate of our entrenched, polarized viewpoints and the epidemic of materialism and misuse of power by positions of authority.
Had I known what I was moving towards and getting myself into, I would have said “no way.” Over the past five years, I’ve seen my self-identity completely dismantled and my self-imposed limitations stripped away. As the saying goes, “our playing small doesn’t serve the world.” I’ve come too far, know too much and the commitment is too deep to turn my back on what I see: We have a viable alternative and Leading as Love is here to help light the way. Look out world, here we come!
Thank you for allowing me to share this story. Please share with others who might like to join with us. We welcome and greatly appreciate your comments and suggestions and look forward to your continued support.