I was the kid who spoke up (sometimes even shouted) in the classroom when the teacher didn’t treat all kids with the respect and love they deserved.
I was the kid on the playground who wouldn’t stand for unfair treatment or abandonment of anyone.
I was the child in my family who argued with my well-meaning parents (and other unsuspecting adults) every time they attempted to squelch the self-expression of myself or my siblings.
In Middle School, they called me “nice person” because took a stand for everyone as equals. I was the kid you couldn’t fit into any particular box because I had friends in each one.
In Graduate School, I quickly went from the wunderkind for whom my professors expected fame, to the black sheep that my professors despised for her unwavering ethics.
But then it all changed. In my 13-year career as a social worker and bilingual teacher I found that helping people was less about standing up for people; and more about giving people permission to access their own wisdom to stand powerfully for themselves. And in my last 11 years as an entrepreneur, CEO, and leader of leaders I’ve deepened in humility as I’ve grown to recognize that I and my company are not growing unless all of us get to grow with it. My team, my clients, my partners — if we’re not all becoming more powerful, my company isn’t aligned with the truth of power itself.
It’s simply not enough to stand for the change we can see possible and to try to get people to
“drink the kool-aid” about what we know needs to change. Shaking the world to wake it up doesn’t work if those around us aren’t waking up to their own truth alongside ours. Overcoming a fear of our power means overcoming a fear of the power of others, as well.
Deep down we’re afraid that power leads to an unlevel playing field. We fear that when people step into their power they won’t need us any longer. We fear abandonment of the support systems we count on.
When we choose to see everyone as powerful, however, our fears are given permission to transform.
Restoring people to their true power creates allies in change.
And restoring people to their innate wisdom — the first outcome of restoring people to their power — takes problems and creates immediate openings for solutions.
Creating change requires stepping back from the need to be seen in our own wisdom, and empowering others into theirs.
Creating change means letting leadership die, and something new take over.
The way I used to fight for others as a kid is no longer necessary, because now others are beginning to understand it’s safe for them to do the same (yes, not all of the world quite yet, but this is the trajectory we’re on and we’re not getting off of it anytime soon).
Leadership is dying because the innate wisdom of one cannot support the needs and fulfillment of many. Our needs and that deeper sense of fulfillment in our goals are only met when we each own the wisdom within ourselves and are given the opportunity to use it.
Leadership is dying because the guru-mentality has been cracked open and we can no longer lead with our fears or need to be seen.
Instead of leading with how much we know, we’re learning to lead with how much we don’t know. Leadership is dying because our egos can no longer stand at the helm of the ship. Our contributions have gotten bigger. The visibility of the suffering on the planet has become so obvious we can’t ignore it any longer. And scalability now has little to do with our ego’s wants, and a lot more to do with what the planet and its people require of us.
Those who choose not to see this are still welcome to play it safe with the old context of leadership. But for those of us who choose to see where the planet is headed and play a role in it, we cannot cling to the old paradigm of leadership any longer.
To make an impact of this size, we’re now required to learn how to channel the strength of the cosmos in order to scale our companies.
To “lead” today, each of us must hone our unique capacity to connect the dots between the physical and energetic worlds. And because of the uniqueness of the capacity to do this within each and every one of us, there can be many leaders to one process, rendering leadership itself — dead.
Death, however, does not happen to create emptiness or confusion. Death happens so that new life can come through. In the death of leadership, we are finding something new.
Leadership is dying so that facilitation can take over.
No matter what form our work takes on, we must learn to continually empty ourselves out so that the unique version of wisdom that wants to move through us can lead us.
We learn to co-create with that wisdom that both is, and is not of us, to create pathways that allow us all to be leaders — exponentializing the capacity we and our companies have to create shifts.
We learn to facilitate the process of those who are counting on our unique wisdom, to support them in the catalyzation of theirs.
We learn to proudly cultivate and own up to the truth that if we claimed to have all the answers, we’d be lying. Instead, we agree to cultivate our own power and wisdom so that together we can help those in our field cultivate theirs.
With facilitation, we learn that the wisdom of one person does not discount the wisdom of another, but build each other up.
With facilitation, we learn to open to the process itself and allow it to show us what we wouldn’t be able to see on our own.
A leader can command people to see them. But a facilitator can command people to see themselves.
And to cultivate the shift of an entire paradigm, it has to be about them, not about us.