Friday, January 22, 2010

In Search of...reluctant leadership

This past week we celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. TV stations ran old footage of a man who spoke fervently and who made the ultimate sacrifice for his convictions. We acknowledge that he paved the way for civil rights legislation, for greater tolerance, and for the election of our current president. But we look at him as the exception. And we scoff at the use of words as instruments of change for the complex times in which we live now.

I give this a lot of thought because I am a writer and words are the tools of my trade. But I also give leadership a lot of thought because the absence of that genuine quality in our society is truly overwhelming. And I am not the only one it is overwhelming to.

In Bon Jovi's recent single, "We Weren't Born to Follow," he calls us to action in the title alone. And I agree with my fine looking rock star friend that "when life is a bitter pill to swallow, you gotta hold on to what you believe." I believe that leadership comes in many styles and that we all possess some ability to call our own leadership skills forth.

I call myself a reluctant leader because I would rather be sitting at home out of the way of conflict or controversy. But I look at the world around me and I know that I have a responsibility to make something better. And so I feel compelled to leave my comfort zone and speak up. And show up.

And so I'd like to ask you, dear blog readers, what is it that matters to you? Is it education, women's issues, health care, and end to war? What is it that would get you off your couch and to a phone, or an email, or an event, or a campaign, or to a soup kitchen, or a mentoring program? What would it take to get us to leave the world of "reality" television for the world of reality itself?

For those of you who think someone else will do it, look around. There is no one else. It's you and me. And before I start singing a folk song instead of Bon Jovi, let me just say that the world needs your leadership, reluctant or otherwise. So pick something near and dear to your heart and do one thing. One thing. It will make all the difference in the world.

Thanks for stopping by, and please tell your friends.

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