I’ve been thinking a bit about some of the tweets I’ve seen @TomHoward send out recently, mainly about how we can no longer stand by and believe the government will solve all of our problems. (I hope that’s accurate, Tom. Let me know if not.) I tend to agree.
We live in chaotic times. Our headlines are currently littered with rumor and innuendo about the validity of our current leadership and government. But what can we do about it?
I think we are already doing a lot.
The system of government isn’t broken. It just isn’t the useful system that it used to be. Climate change, refugees, and appropriate tax on the rocks we’re currently bringing out of the ground are all issues that flummox our leaders. Not to mention the fact we seem to be in for more of these so called ‘global financial crises’ than we may expect.
Government cannot adapt to all of that. Heck, the only system that really can is society because it has no choice. And because it has no choice, society has leaders. You are. I am. We all have that potential.
Look around you. There are leaders everywhere. Here’s just a very small sample of people I follow:
- Yvonne, who wrote a thesis on the use of the word ‘like’ in the modern English language.
- Jen, who had a video of hers about a dead language play in the film ‘Life In A Day’.
- Tony and Alex, who stood up to say that everyone deserves to be included.
- Bruno, who _is_ the most polite man on the planet.
- Adriaan and Mei for launching apps I use and for the #tophuman tour.
- Cam, for ass whipping across America.
- Melina, who kick-started Kinyei in Cambodia.
- Tom, who is the raid leader for the successful Crimson Guild on WoW.
- Ken Arkind, for making stuff like this.
- Travis Brooks, who works at Deloitte only for most people who walk past him not to really know what it’s means to me that he played hockey and won a gold.**
- Pat, who learned how to travel and be a global brand.
- Col, for Yurting.
- Bryony, who realized that she was the one who needed to stand up and be a role model.
- Nathan, who made Inspire9 possible (along with everyone else)
- Rose, who loves me and swam the English Channel (swimming the channel was probably easier!)
- Luke, for having brunch.
- Ross, who made Mindful a reality and who also enjoys scotch.
- Pete and Michelle who tend to the Penguins at St Kilda pier.
- Jan, for keeping a lot of us sane longer than we would have otherwise.
- Eddie, for sharing what he learns about his health.
- Ben, for living in the desert and actually understanding what it’s like to live in a place where rocks are pulled out of the ground.
- Josh, who blogs honestly and reminds me how it should be done.
- Jules, for taking days off.
- Ned, who is learning to play table tennis.
Leadership isn’t about votes. It’s not even about fixing the system, although that might be useful sometimes. It’s about keeping the light on. It’s about doing things you love and need to do, in the hope that others will join in. It’s about realizing that having people join in is the special part. Because everyone is doing something amazing that is just waiting to be discovered. Just waiting to be raised in conversation and shared.
This was supposed to be a post about how we can fix society if we just stop trying so hard to fix it. Scott Heiferman started talking to his neighnours after 9/11 and 10 years later his company, Meet Up, has facilitated 10,000,000 gatherings. I believe more and more every day that we would all live in this ‘better’ world if we just started asking what people cared about and stopped complaining about our politicians.
That’s why I’m excited to work for Yammer…just as I am constantly excited by Trampoline being on again soon. Because they are places where it’s possible for people to get to know the real people they work and live with. To discover the thesis they wrote, the YouTube clip they filmed, the channel they swum or the goal they scored. Because once we learn those things, society doesn’t seem like such a hopeless place, and everything is possible. It turns out we have leaders everywhere.
**I remember where I was the moment Travis hit that goal. It was a big moment for Australian hockey. If you’re keen to see innovation in action, head to the State Netball and Hockey Centre this Sunday at 3:30pm – it’s Grand Final day and Waverly is playing Doncastor. It’s the best sport you’ll see all weekend. It’ll cost you $10. Take a hat and sit on the hill.
14 thoughts on “We are all leaders”
have you seen this thread on /mentoring thought it goes really nice with your post: http://bustr.tumblr.com/post/9593136663/mentoring
basically the idea of encouraging everyone to have open office hours, with the hope that /mentoring will be as prevalent as /about pages in the future.
Oh, that’s really nice! Delightful, even! Thanks for sharing Mei!
“Leadership isn’t about votes. It’s not even about fixing the system,
although that might be useful sometimes. It’s about keeping the light
on. It’s about doing things you love and need to do, in the hope that
others will join in. It’s about realizing that having people join in is
the special part. Because everyone is doing something amazing that is
just waiting to be discovered. Just waiting to be raised in conversation
This is a fantastic paragraph Steve which I think you hit the nail bang on. Too many people see leaders as the ‘big names’ we know. In reality leaders are just the average person who has the guts to follow what they feel and make something of it. It’s definetly a fantastic journey to be had.
Thanks Michael. I feel like we’re so lucky to have people we can follow in all aspects of our life. It’s a pleasure to be alive, largely because of the amazing things that people are doing.
Thanks for the comment 🙂
Embedded in your reflection of leadership is an interesting thread on connectedness. The correlation between increasing the number and depth of relationships an individual has and the positive impact on their happiness.
Thanks for sharing.
You’re right Paul – I didn’t realise when writing it but there’s a strong correlation between the number of relationships and leadership in the post.
I don’ think that’s a requirement for all leadership, mind you. Perhaps it’s just a better model at the moment. Heirachy/status has been the modal model of leadership for a while now, and that will be something we include in the next phase.
A beautiful post Steve, I find it really inspiring and it makes me feel that I
have importance and also a responsibility in this society to ask questions and
seek out these leaders. They ARE all around us and within us. Thank you for
Thanks darling 🙂
Great post darling. “Heck, the only system that really can is society because it has no choice.” Governments cannot and will not have the funding in the future to solve all our problems…The Future Is Us…see http://220.127.116.11/videos/publications/collaborative_services.pdf to quote
“The innovative approaches of the creative communities are of great interest and concrete importance. They highlight new forms of responsibility and initiatives among citizens/ consumers able “manufacture” and think their own solutions.
Interesting you mention hockey given the leadership shown by Gus Johnson in his youtube video on homophobia in sport http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnK1qOMG5dI&feature=player_embedded
Thanks mother dear! 🙂
Yeah, Gus’s video was amazing. Thanks for sharing it with us here!
Steve, loving the themes and topics of your posts lately. Great stuff!
“Complex social problems today outstrip the capacity of any single organization or individual to solve them. We don’t need to grow non-profits. We need to grow networks for social change.” Alison Fine at the Personal Democracy Forum in 2010. http://causeglobal.blogspot.com/2010/06/fortress-fighters.html
And, as you say… “we can no longer stand by and believe the government will solve all of our problems.”
Pete Williams spoke about this in his TEDxCanberra talk last year – Rebuilding Flowerdale – how it’s common for people to say ‘They’ (insert: government/business leaders/rich people…) should do this, and ‘they’ should do that. Maybe we are the ‘they’. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imnfn4dV2l8
Or as the Hopi Indian believe – “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” http://inspirationforchange.tumblr.com/post/3898568566/we-are-the-ones-weve-been-waiting-for
To quote the awesome Bucky Fuller: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
And we are all connected: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUBjnk_9n8Y&feature=player_embedded
Open, inclusive, collective, collaborative, constructive action FTW! 🙂
Thanks David, well said! 🙂
Wonderful post, Steve! An inspiring reminder to take a moment every now and then to remember how amazing the people around us are and ourselves too 🙂 This line in particular in your post “It’s about doing things you love and need to do, in the hope that others will join in” is absolutely fantastic. It has been one of my own life philosophies for the last five years since I started on YouTube, and I’m now able to bring that philosophy into my everyday interactions with people too – greatly helped by you over the last 18 months. You too are someone who really lives by that ideology 🙂
Thanks for the kind comment Jen 🙂