What does your leadership look like?

18 Jun

Last month, Public Allies National started the Everyone Doodles contest on Facebook, asking for doodles that answer the question “How do YOU lead?”

Since I don’t use Facebook, I can’t enter the contest, but this reminded me of a question we were asked during the PA Los Angeles Mid-Year Retreat: “What do you want your leadership to look like?” We drew our answer onto our paperbag “mailboxes” which we use to leave one another messages through the retreat.

Outside of my Public Allies work at SRO Housing, personal writing, our Team Service Project at Southern California Library, volunteering for Community Services Unlimited, Inc., and gardening, rock climbing is my other pre-occupation. So of course I thought of mountains when I considered my drawing:

Why a mountain? Well, I thought about what I’ve learned through coaching and training: that our leadership is about our communities; how we must always be grounded in how we can impact others and change things for the better. In climbing, as in leading, we face our fears, explore our limitations, and hold on tight. And through doing that, we discover how high we can actually go. In terms of community work, it’s not until we fully explore our resources and assets, both in ourselves and in one another, that we see how great our community can be.

The little green and red/orange blobs along the mountain are flowers– because it’s not just about getting higher and higher, it’s also the journey upward itself. I’ve been surprised and delighted while climbing on what looks like nothing but rock, only to find a little bush or flower or succulent in a nook along my path. I want my leadership to have that kind of magic and positivity, too.

And finally, I think we also don’t realize what how grand our communities are. That they’re mountains of caring, determination, and perseverance. I want my leadership to remind people of that, too, because that’s what I see.

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