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.