How many followers are in your camp? How many people do you influence? Have you ever stopped to think about the number? Probably not. It's more staggering than you could possibly imagine.
When we talk of leadership, we're usually referring to our direct reports and other employees within our company. We can also apply it to our customers and vendors. If we think about it, we might extend our view of leadership to our family, friends or even our community. But our leadership doesn't stop there. If we think of leadership broadly as authentically adding value, it can be active in every interaction we have, every day of our lives. There is no OFF switch when it comes to leadership… and no limit to whom we may influence, or how even the most remote individual may influence any given situation. Expanding our peripheral vision to include all these players is key. It will improve our imagination and promote better decision making.
This reminded me of a "flip" from The Zen Leader, from Local Self to Whole Self. Even when we think we are looking at the big picture, are we really seeing all of it? Here is an exercise that you can do from that chapter to show you just how wide your sphere of influence is in any given situation. When we change our field of view to see ALL the players and listen closely to their individual voices, we become aware of crucial perspectives that affect the whole. Our imagination has ground in which to operate and our actions become more tuned to the whole context. As Albert Einstein once said, " Your imagination is your preview of life's coming attractions." Care to see a glimpse?
I invite you to take this challenge:
Choose one issue that surrounds you and do this exercise, From Local Self to Whole Self. Don't be overwhelmed in the enormity of all the players in your situation, but relax into it and "let intuition operate with your good intentions," as Ginny Whitelaw suggests in The Zen Leader." Through this process of flipping to our whole self, our local self is changed. We are changed in what we notice, what we think, and how we act. Because we are changed, a new reality is possible in the Now. As we flip from local self to whole self, we manifest a whole new picture. And eventually, we don't have to imagine what if we were the whole picture. We can say with clarity, 'I am that'." As you explore these connections and imagine "what if…" see how your own interconnectivity provides boundless possibility.
In this spinning, face-paced world, our influence is more like a galaxy than a single solar system. We never know whom we may influence, or who may play an important role in future events.
It's also important to remember that one does not "become" a leader. It is a privilege given to us by others - and we have no control over its breadth.