Monday, 25 March 2013

Day151 - The Idea Of Leadership


I have thus far written about my experience of being a leader – or, shall I say, more my idea of leadership. Here I am going to write about what I believed  leadership to be, my idea of leadership and how it determined my behavior, as well as the consequences an Idea of leadership in my mind created in my relationship to my physical body and my life experience in this real world. Essentially, showing how an idea of something, when not cross-referenced in one’s relationship to self, the physical body and this world – can create/manifest consequences for oneself.

As I now look back - my first mistake was not defining leadership and what it actually means, imagessdvpractically. I simply dived right in not being ready or preparing myself for it - I did not direct myself effectively, in terms of actually establishing for myself ‘who am I’ as a leader, and what are the implications / responsibilities of becoming a leader in my relationship to self and others. 

When I got to the farm and started doing tasks, I did not see myself as a leader. It was first only me and LJ and we both worked together. I remember one of our neighbors who helped us out with the basics, like how to operate a tractor slasher(its a machine that attaches to a tractor and cuts grass) and others things we did not yet know how to do. In a conversation he said to me that he knows I will be the one directing things around the farm in terms of tasks and showing people what to do and how to do things. I laughed at first, because I did not see myself doing that. So, he must have noticed something in me that I have not yet recognized/seen/realized for myself.

Sometime Later as more people came to visit and stayed, wanting to help out and participate around the farm to learn new things - I noticed that I was indeed the one people came to for advice, and I was directing tasks. I was not alone in this, because if I got stuck I asked others for assistance like Bernard who basically knew how to do everything, practically. I wanted to be like that - to know what to do. To be able to solve problems in the most sufficient and practical method. This was a challenge for me that I enjoyed, solving problems – but not only solving them, finding/establishing the most easy, efficient, direct and practical way to do them. My mind tended to really complicate situations, lol but when the practical solutions was shown – it was actually SO SIMPLE. So, from that perspective I liked doing these jobs, figuring things out, challenging myself from complexity to simplicity, practicality.

In time, I learned through assistance given and trial and error. I wanted to be the first person to do something new. For example how to lay down a concrete floor. None of us have ever done it before so the first thing was to know the mix - the amount of sand, stone, concrete and water required and how to mix it properly. I wanted to learn it first, because that is what a leader does - to be able to show others how to do something you should be able to do it yourself first so that you know what to do. So, with most things - I did things first to learn and then showed others. 

My idea of being a leader back then was to be able to do everything and show others how to do it. To be able to direct people effectively as well as motivate others. I also believed that I was the most effective person when it came with farm activities and by that logic I should be the one who does everything. That was a mistake, because in that I did not give others the opportunity to learn all new things. I did show them some things that even if they made mistakes it would not be big. Tasks like leveling a block of wet cement to make it smooth and shape it perfect level for a floor I did myself, because I feared if they made mistakes and the concrete dried it can’t be fixed again.  Also since I knew how to do things - because I have done it so many times - I did it faster. Another idea of leadership I had was to get things done fast and since I was the most effective I could get things done fast and did not give others the opportunity even though there was no real rush. I created the rush, the belief that tasks must be done fast to get to the other task. There was always so much to do I wanted to get to everything at once not even giving myself a proper break some days.

So, what as ‘cool’ was the point of getting to know something and showing others, directing others effectively and motivating them and that in that context I was at that stage the most effective person. But, the ‘mistakes’ were in regards to me not showing others how to get to know something, me not showing others how to DIRECT THEMSELVES effectively, me not showing others how to become the most effective person within specific tasks – so, I took it all onto me, and me alone, and did not assist/support others to become equal to me within the same process I have walked to stand in the position that I was standing. And so we would have all, in fact, become more effective in various responsibilities with equalizing our skills/learning from each other.

Eventually I realized that I cannot do everything myself and then delegated and gave others an opportunity to learn, but I should have done that in the beginning.

imagesIf I could go back I would give myself one thing - patience. To go tell myself to relax and Slow Down. To realize how I got to be effective - others showed me and I learned by doing a task myself and there was always somebody that could assist me if I got stuck. And then give that opportunity for others. Being a leader does not mean to know how to do everything and to be the best at it FOR ONLY YOU, it’s about acquiring the skills and knowl edge and to equally pass it on, doing one’s best in the process of acquiring skills/knowledge – I mean, ‘giving it your all’, because that’s your self expression, but to also ‘give it your all’ for each one, as oneself, to establish that ‘self leadership’ within self and a particular task. It is to be able to teach what you know and what you have done yourself and thus certain what works and what doesn't. Being a Leader is not to have followers, but to be able to teach others how to become a leader as well.

I later realized that I was not in fact the most effective at doing everything. For example I remember Andrew came for a visit and he was interested in wood work - making tables and cutting slats. Once he got started he was amazing and really good at it – a lot better than I was even though I have done it for a long while. And so I looked who was the most effective where and directed people according to that. 

I had a warped idea of what it means to be a leader and made a lot mistakes on the way. Eventually it became natural to me - people came with questions and I mostly had answers, but as you have read in my previous blogs I was still allowing stress and impatience to direct me. Right now for the last few months, because of my Grave’s Disease I am no longer able to do any physical activities so I had a break, so to speak. And it’s pretty cool, because I can now see what I have done and how I lived and prepare myself to walk anew with the realizations I’ve had in relation to the past.

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