But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.
–Last 14 lines from Mary Oliver’s poem, “The Journey”
Leadership is an inner game.
It doesn’t come from the sound of a commanding voice.
It comes from hearing the nudging of one’s own inner voice.
It comes from no longer ignoring the promptings from inside, from dismissing them as murky and unclear.
For me, it has come from no longer listening to a story in my head and from a fear of rejection in my gut, that poetry and all it represents doesn’t belong in my work. Poetry is an essential part of who I am. If I leave it out, I can’t fully show up.
It comes from having faith that the promptings are worth listening to, and when the doubts come, which they will, from having more faith and making a great effort.
It requires a discipline to listen, to stop amid the never ending fire-drill of life, and reflect.
It comes from taking time outs from the outer game.
Sun & cloud Image: Ian Bloomfield