So now I ask myself, what are MY basic beliefs, concepts, and attitudes of leadership?
LOVE. You cannot lead well without it. You can't do much of anything well without it, except be miserable and terrible. This is excluding, for a moment, the idea that without love none of those things would exist because there must be opposition to all things. Well, now that I look at it, it's not so much an absence of love that makes a leader a tyrant, but obvious rejection or ignoring of love is what turns good into evil.
Love is the root of everything good. The ultimate leader, Jesus Christ, he is love. His entire mortal life was spent distributing love to everyone and everything. The message of his gospel is love; love God, love yourself, love your neighbor.
We did an activity in the last ten minutes of my leadership group class this past Wednesday--an activity that made my day, and hopefully that of many others. Our class broke up, either into groups or individuals, and walked all over campus in different directions. Our goal? To spread joy. To make someone smile or just feel good about themselves and about life. Some of us had notes that said things like: "If this made you smile, pass it on!" or, "If you're missing a smile, you can have one of mine." or, "Have a great day!" My personal favorite was one I made that read, "Grin and WEAR it!" Others didn't take notes, but instead gave hugs, or smiled, or stopped and talked to someone who looked lonely. A lot of people gave us weird looks. All of the ones we gave notes to smiled. One woman turned around after taking the note we gave her and asked us what it was for. My partner said, "It's for you, to make you happy." She smiled and said thank you. It is the most wonderful thing in the world to make someone smile; the simplest of services, the kindest of actions, the cheapest way to make someone's day. And it filled me to overflowing with joy and warmth. It wasn't a huge service project. We didn't announce to the world that we were delivering these messages of happiness and love to get attention. We just devoted ten minutes of our time bringing joy to those around us.
It is still amazing to me how people can walk through this life and miss seeing how beautiful it is, how lucky they are, how blessed they are. It is amazing, and terrifying, to me how most people can walk through life and not see how beautiful and wonderful they are, and how much they can give to the world if they will only smile and put forth their best effort, doing something they're passionate about.
This week we also turned in a paper we wrote about a movie we watched that had an example of leadership in it. Because I love the movie and hadn't seen it for a while, I checked "Dead Poets' Society" out of the library and went home and watched it. I cried. I always do when I watch that movie. But I don't cry at the saddest part, the part about a death (I'll try to avoid spoiling the movie entirely!) I never fail, however, to shed tears when it gets to the end and everything comes together in a huge dramatic scene with triumphant, inspirational music and people standing up (literally) for something they believe in and respect and love. It's also at this point that the message of the movie, at least the one I believe it contains, slams home.
The message is that the most valuable contribution you can make to the world is sharing your passion for life with everyone around you. Whatever it is that makes you most happy, that you love the most, share it with others every moment of every day. Put forth every bit of positive energy your being contains
My theory is that if I have love, if I recognize it in my life and use it, I have a responsibility to show my fellow man that same love. I have a responsibility to not only love him, but show him how I found that love. This is how leadership is based on love. This is what I believe the best leadership is made of.