I do see the irony in changing this great quote by Mahatma Gandhi. From my google search, it appears the next closest quote is by Simon Sinek (“Be the leader you wish you had”). It’s all dancing around the same idea…to be the best leaders we can be in our everyday lives….being a better parent, employee/employer, spouse/partner, son/daughter, brother/sister, friend/neighbour, local/global citizen and all the while trying to be better to ourselves; nurturing our own health and well-being so there is always something to give.
It is early on a Sunday morning…why am I thinking about leadership? In a world with many problems, is being the change the same thing as being a leader? In short, I would say yes. However, I still feel it is an important distinction. Change can get a bit of a bad rap because change is hard and when we do not understand why, especially when it is forced upon us, it becomes change for the sake of change. What people are really saying is I do not understand the why. Or more interesting yet, I do not want to understand the why.
True leaders and leadership take a lifetime to cultivate. What is more challenging than change itself are the values of everyday leadership that we leave behind to help support positive change. Being genuine to your own story and truth, being more curious about your weaknesses than your strengths, being good even when no one else is looking, being courageous especially when it is hard, treating everyone as equals despite cultural norms, being humble even when you know your power.
Change becomes the result when leadership is present and the why is understood. The why will only be heard when trust, compassion and openness are present, all of which can be hard to first give yourself. I challenge everyone to be the everyday leaders they wish to see in this world which will raise the bar in kind for everyone around them (including our elected officials!).
By Jay Downs
Jay Downs is a mental & emotional health enthusiast and runs his own retirement coaching practice to support retirees in their preparation, transition, and fulfillment. You can find out more at JMDretirementcoaching.ca