Be. Leadership 2018: Leadership - What is it and Why Me?

Kindling the Flame of Leadership

by Chantelle Griffiths

Imagine for a moment, that one of your goals for the year was to face one of your biggest demons. If you knew deep down in your soul that to progress to the next stage of your evolution, you must come to terms with a challenging concept that was at once part of your DNA, and so confronting that you actively avoided it for most of your life.

What if you put an intention out to the universe that you wanted to be the best person you could possibly be, and were handed an opportunity that was exciting and simultaneously terrifying, but that answered your intention exactly? What would you do?

That was me, and I took action.

The 2018 Be. Leadership programme crept stealthily into my consciousness through a video shared by an alumnus on my Facebook feed. Like a flicker in the darkness, disappearing the moment I noticed it. Hovering at the edge of my periphery until I tried to bring it into focus. Yet remaining tantalisingly elusive. Until one day, I found myself entranced, like a moth to a flame, by thoughts of learning, personal growth and possibility. In the end, I knew that the only way to go was forward; lured by the siren song of finally conquering that leadership demon, and developing into a stronger, wiser version of myself in the process.

In any new group situation, at first, there is uncertainty. But that soon evaporated as we were launched head first into examining the core concepts of why we were all there. Leadership. Besides the fact that we didn’t have time to sit and feel awkward, I soon discovered that the energy I needed for anxiety was necessary to fuel my mind as we grappled with concepts like what leadership meant to us, and how leadership and leaders fit into today’s society. I could feel the framework of what I thought I knew reconfiguring itself as we examined our own beliefs; discovering new definitions to everyday words we thought we already understood and examining fundamental concepts in a whole new way.

Under the gentle, humorous, loving and sometimes provocative guidance of our facilitators, I could feel almost a tectonic shifting of understanding taking place within myself and those around me as the weekend progressed. The bond between us as a group strengthened during discussion, (and over amazing food,) to the point where having regular and extremely lively debates, sometimes about very personal concepts became the norm. You know you're doing something right when each time someone says, "I disagree," the group erupts into spontaneous and good-natured laughter.

Now imagine, if you will, bringing together a group of strangers who all found a common thread woven through the tapestries of their lives. Who followed that thread and discovered that where the threads intersected was a way forward. An inclusive, accepting, nurturing and trusting environment where fun is essential, companionship is assured and growth is inevitable. Imagine if that demon you once thought to conquer became a wise and loving companion you could walk with and learn from. And imagine if that stealthy smouldering of consciousness became an iridescent flame, kindled by knowledge and nourished by deliberate and conscious action.

What if that flame illuminates unexpected opportunities? What if the knowledge we gain kindles the same flame in the hearts of everyone we meet through our passion and enthusiasm? And what if that deliberate and conscious action takes us one step closer to the tectonic shifts necessary for significant and long-lasting social change in New Zealand and across the world? Only time will tell.

We have already taken a significant step in the right direction. We’ve learned that leadership is dynamic and diverse. We've learned that leadership means different things to different people. And we've learned that leadership involves looking at the world and ourselves on a soul-deep level.

Together we are discovering, among many other things, that moving from possibility to reality begins with a deceptively simple concept. Taking action. My life has already changed significantly as a result.

And that’s only Session One! Bring it on, Be!