Have you ever gone to see a new-born while it’s still in hospital? It’s an amazing experience, but that all changes the moment someone asks if you want to hold it.
Feeling like it would be rude to say no, you begin to cradle air until someone places the little bundle in your arms. With your heart racing a million miles an hour, you try your best to make sure your face exudes: “I am calm. I am completely in control,” but under the surface there is mild panic. There is a bit of an awkward feeling of not really knowing what you are supposed to be doing. When someone much more qualified than you finally relieves you, there is a deep sigh.
You didn’t drop it, or break it and you passed it on in the same state it was given to you.
Over the past year or so, I have noticed the rhetoric of leadership appear in just about every political debate or news bulletin or conversation about our past and our future.
There’s no leadership.
We need leadership.
That was poor leadership.
Leadership, leadership, leadership…
For many of us, this leadership thing is kind of like holding the baby. If we’re honest, we aren’t really sure what to do with it. There is a deep sense of relief when we can give it to someone more qualified than us. And the golden rule: whatever happens, make sure you pass it on in no worse a state than it was given to you.
We need to learn that being in charge of something and being a leader is not the same thing.
Leadership is fundamentally about movement; it’s taking people somewhere. It’s lifting our heads and opening our hearts to allow dreams to form and then having the courage to do something about them, no matter how clumsy or mistake-ridden our first actions are.
As a father of three, including two-year-old twin boys, I realised that the only way to get past the awkward I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-doing feeling of holding new-born babies was to hold them. I learned that they were nowhere near as fragile as they appeared and that love was the only qualification I needed.
So what have you been avoiding picking up? What are you not allowing someone else to give you because you don’t know what you’d do with it? What do you love enough to hold for a while?