Leadership. It’s a tricky word. We want someone to lead us through the storm, through the tough hike, up the mountain. When leadership turns to an authority figure, we can have more trouble obeying, doing what we are told without questioning, and letting go of control.
Authority figures show us our own unclaimed power. The part of us that didn’t make it to the top of the heap, the part of us that, our Inner Critic tells us, just doesn’t quite cut it. And we become angry at those in leadership who are not as bright, talented, disciplined as we are, but who made it to the top anyway. They got discovered. They had mentors. And since they don’t deserve respect, we don’t give respect. We stir the pot. We create drama. And that’s where thinking trips over its own shoelaces.
No one is going to come up and ask to mentor you. No one is waiting to hand you the Crown of Retribution and congratulate you for your leadership. See that talisman? The magic is not in the talisman. It’s in the story you tell yourself about the talisman. It’s the meaning you make when you wear it.
Some people believe what authority figures tell them to believe. A few more believe what their friends tell them. But everyone believes their own story–the one they tell themselves. And once you believe it, you tell it to others and they believe your story, too. The one where you never got the breaks. About being overlooked and under-appreciated. And then others don’t give you breaks, overlook you and under-appreciate you. Because you told them to.
Tell yourself that talisman is yours. It reminds you what you want, what you are good at, what you can do. Put it on. It’s time for you to step up and re-claim the powerful bits of yourself you storied away, hoping people would disagree with you. Being a leader doesn’t mean being given power. It means working with people who believe in you. That’s what leaders do.
—Quinn McDonald is taking a hard look at the talismans she believes in.