I have been thinking a lot about what it means to lead. As an Executive Director I am always asking myself what am I trying to do? What do I want to inspire and how do I do that?
Recently having attended two education conferences, the NW Holistic Education Conference on Orcas Island at Salmonberry School and the AERO conference in Portland, I have begun to deeply participate in the question, what does being a leader even mean? I met many people at the conference who are trying to create the change they wish to see in the world. As I listened to their experiences and desires, passions and concerns, an idea began to take root and it has grown in me over the last few weeks. It is this: I am not a leader, I am a builder.
A bridge is built by first identifying a need; then forming a plan for the bridge, what kind of bridge will it be?; and when it comes time to build the bridge, you start with a fixed point on one side, but the other side is variable (you never know exactly where the bridge will land on the other side until you start to build it). A new and dear friend commented to me at the conference, “Oh, you are a bridge builder!” And then that little idea suddenly exploded into a tree.
The need: a fundamental change in the way people relate to themselves and the other people in their lives. A need to be in relationship to consciousness, to allow its un-obstructed manifestation through each of us, as each of us.
The bridge: is Natural Learning Relationships, no question.
Where we start: here, now, with what we have.
Then, I was invited to join all of you here, on the Cooperative Catalyst, to “change education as we speak”. I spent the first few weeks reading posts and getting to know this place. While reading, I came across this post reference where a man named Umair Haque wrote The Builder’s Maifesto and I was struck. In it he says: “Here’s the problem in a nutshell. What leaders “lead” are yesterday’s organizations. But yesterday’s organizations are broken. Today’s biggest human challenge isn’t leading broken organizations slightly better. It’s building better organizations in the first place. It isn’t about leadership: it’s about “buildership”, or what I often refer to as Constructivism. Leadership is the art of becoming, well, a leader. Constructivism, in contrast, is the art of becoming a builder — of new institutions.”
And so, my friends, I am coming to realize that I am not a leader, I am a builder, a builder of bridges. I am building a bridge from where we are today (a society in relationally confused hell), to one in which we care for our children and ourselves by being in relationship to consciousness, the way it is talked about here. What will that look like exactly? That is the beauty of it, we don’t have to know that now, we can just start building. And I truly hope that you all will join me in this effort, for if we just continue to lead the existing organizations, we will fail. We must build new bridges and we must abandon the old paradigm which is destined for more of the same. This does not mean that we have to walk out on every organization; in fact, I believe that if we simply change our perspectives, move to a new paradigm and begin to see ourselves as whole and filled with wisdom, then we will not be able to stop the tidal wave of well-being that will change everything.