In a Nutshell | Mastering the Art of Stepping into Leadership

We are under the mistaken impression that if we are open, we won’t be able to protect ourselves from being abused. We couldn’t be more wrong…We need to think of opening up—of losing our defensive strategies—not as an act that is directed outwardly, but more importantly as an act of receptivity toward our inner self…

If we are far enough along on our path of personal development to open ourselves up to transforming our Lower Self, we are also capable of experiencing tremendous joy and fulfillment—along with genuine leadership…What does leadership entail, in its truest sense?..

When it comes to leadership, we have many conflicting attitudes. First of all, we envy leadership when we encounter it in others…We reactivate our dormant reactions towards anyone in authority, dragging obsolete problems out of hiding and making an enemy of anyone who is a leader in the truest sense of the word…In our envy of the leaders, we want to become the leader. But this undeveloped, childish part—which overshadows the parts that are more developed—doesn’t want to accept any of the responsibilities that go along with being a leader…

We have another common conflict with leadership: we want a leader who will benefit us personally…This greater leader—really more like a biased personal god—is supposed to alter the laws of life for us, as if by magic…

As long as we refuse to fulfill the natural requirements for leadership ourselves—in whatever way we are called to do so—we have no right to resent or envy leadership in others. Yet we do. The word that describes this phenomenon is “transference”—we react to this super-power the way we react to our parents…The equation is simple: if we don’t assume leadership over our own life, we will need to find a leader who will run our life for us. For no one can live without leadership; we become a boat without a rudder…

We are going to ask for leadership to govern our life in a way that cannot be given to us. We’ll want them to lead when it’s convenient for us, but we will resent them for doing it. We will want all the freedom and privileges given to us, but won’t step up to self-leadership. We’re torn in two by our own hidden conflict…We must look at how we resent those in a position of leadership, as though they are depriving us or imposing something unfair on us. We need to avoid acting as though we’re being stopped from realizing our own capacity to be a true leader…

It is a spiritual law that there is always a price to pay for having what we want. So in some ways, it could be said that true giving is demanded of a leader—this is the price we must pay if want to have the privileges of leadership, of which there are many…Giving is more than a simple act; it is also the thought and the intention behind the act. The basic thought behind true giving is, “I want to give to enrich the world, not to aggrandize my ego”…Leadership, in this sense, is built on a love of true giving and the true giving of love…

Another quality that is a prerequisite for leadership is the ability to be impartial…For this, we will need some rigorous self-honesty…That’s the only way we will be able to validly and objectively assess others…To be a good leader, we must have this greatness. If we don’t and we have gained a position of leadership, we will be toppled by this…

This brings us to another quality of leadership: the willingness to risk exposing ourselves and being open to criticism. If we close ourselves up in fear, while at the same time grabbing for the brass ring of leadership because we like the perks of power and prestige, we defeat the purpose…To be a leader means to constantly take a risk. We need a firm footing so we can tolerate the discomfort of being criticized and misunderstood, whether rightly or wrongly…

As leaders, things won’t always go our way. So it will also be critically important that we develop our ability to withstand frustration. More than this, if we want to become whole and truly unified people, we will need to reconcile the apparent dichotomy of these two opposites: frustration and fulfillment…The last rung on the ladder will walk us into a deeper and more radiant world as the point of frustration narrows…We will discover the divinity of a particle of frustration. And it will no longer be frustration. It will miraculously bring us the highest fulfillment imaginable.

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