The Being'ness of Leadership


My recent visit to the Stout Grove stand of old growth redwood in the Jedediah Smith National Park in Northern California reminded me of a profoundly important aspect of leadership that has nothing to do with what we actually accomplish as leaders. Simply, it is about who we are as leaders and human beings. For the sake of this discussion, let’s call it the realm of being’ness. To have any lasting appreciation for this in a manner that shifts our understanding, we must first experience humility in a way that evokes inquiry and a deeper reflection of who we are. For this reason, I repeatedly come back to the Redwood forest and in particular the Stout Grove stand of trees during our family camping trips. There is something primordial that is stoked while standing in their presence. Much like losing oneself in the gaze of the glowing embers of a fire, the compression of the lives that we live are unpacked, slowly at first and then in substantial leaps. As the anxiety melts away, the mind yields to Satoric moments as we open ourselves to introspection and learning. Experiencing humility in this way strengthens the heart for authenticity in our roles as leaders, and it is this authenticity that gives energy, meaning and drive to what we do. The rub as they say, is that more often than not the time we allow ourselves for this depth of inquiry and reflection are superficial attempts at best. Vacations which are more akin to action adventures then peaceful, relaxing sojourns are the norm, leaving us spent upon our return to the organization, worn out from the “break.” Just more doing masquerading as being. Thankfully, the remedy is very simple; seek to experience undiluted nature. The un-pretention of it will enable you to see yourself for who you are, without judgment or expectation. Then and only then, can you re-energize your leadership with a profoundly deepened sense of who you are and how you serve others.