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"Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly."
Robert F. Kennedy

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Leadership Notes -- Thoughts on Leading People and Making a Difference in Organizations

Word count this issue: 417

Estimated reading time:  3:00 minutes

 

Good morning from foggy Vancouver. I was driving back into Vancouver from our home on the Sunshine Coast earlier this week and was listening to Garth Brooks. In a short clip Brooks spoke of a hero of his who had taught him the importance of being ‘authentically me';  a kind of this is who I am, take it or leave it. 

 

It is an ethic that shouts about the importance of the individual, and it is very common in our society.  Baby, I was born this way! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xl0N7JM3wZk 

 

As amazing and freeing as the idea is, I’d like to offer that there is a shadow side to it as well. Saying “I am who I am , take it or leave it” can lock us into stagnation as people. We humans are wired to grow and develop; as infants into toddlers, as toddlers into ‘little kids’, into pre adolescents, adolescents, young adults, and adults. And then, we are still wired to keep growing, to keep becoming! I may well have said “I am who I am” at the age of 38, but I know that I am not the same ‘I am’ at 58, and I hope that I will not be the same ‘I am’ at 68, or 78, or 88.  

 

Perhaps rather saying “I am who I am”, we might say, “I am who I am becoming.” Becoming is so much more than being. Becoming implies growth, learning and developing into the people we can be.

 

And there is an interesting link here to how we think about a Higher Power. In the famous story from Exodus as Moses encounters the Divine in the Burning Bush, Moses asks the Divine, ‘what shall I call you?’ The answer in Hebrew (with English letters) is YHWH, which is most often translated as “I am” or perhaps a little more accurately,  “I am who I am” An equally valid translation is interestingly , “I am who I will be.” So even in our western thinking about Divinity over the last 4000 years, we’ve been working between “I am who I am,” and “I am who I will be.” 

 

 

Perhaps it is a bit of both; today I am, and I am ok with that, and tomorrow, I will be perhaps a little more grown up and I’m ok with that too.