Starting from Rock Bottom

(IMAGINATION+COMMUNICATION=”LEADING UP” IN A SANE SYSTEM)

Hello again!  I hope you’ve been practicing your Love Zone and Spider Sense skills, for three reasons: first, because it’s wonderful to learn that you can do real magic; second, because “leading up” requires such magic, and third, because if you’re in any relatively sane systems, using your magic will create rapid, exciting changes in your life.  When this happens, please write to me about it (martha@marthabeck.com) so that I can ooh, aah, and write you up in future “Team Profiles.”

Assuming that you’re getting in touch with your magic, let’s talk about exactly how you can begin leading from the rock-bottom of a sane system.  Remember, we defined a sane system this way:  “Situation X, and its leaders aren’t perfect, but on the whole they’re just, fair, responsive, and well-intentioned.”

Caveat Dux (Leader Beware)

Ironically, a healthy, sane system, with kind and intelligent people above you in the power structure, is the place where you’re at the greatest risk of failing to develop your essential Team leadership skills.  Your most probable “failure mode” is falling into the role of the faithful, childlike follower, waiting for your superior to give you assignments, fulfilling those assignments, and getting rewarded with money, privileges, approval, or whatever.  

dux following their dux (leader)

Ducks following their dux.

 

If the powerful people in Situation X are just and kind, you may go on and on playing Follow the Leader, expecting others to come up with all the right instructions for your life.  And nobody has those instructions except you.  No parent, mentor, or guru, no matter how inspired or motivational, knows what your superpowers are, or how you’re supposed to save the world.  Because you have a natural urge to fulfill your destiny, this means that your leader will eventually disappoint you.

I can’t count the number of clients who’ve told me, “I expect you to give me a clear map of my future and make it easy for me to follow the map.”  I’ve also had dozens of people say, “I want to do what you do, so clearly, I’m meant to work with you.”

There are all kinds of problems with this logic.  Aside from the fact that I have no idea what your destiny holds, I have high anxiety, generalized bewilderment, and the attention span of a gnat.  if you really want to “do what I do,” that doesn’t mean tucking in behind me or anyone else; it means making up your life as you go along, relying completely on your intuition and internal compasses, always terrified of the unknown but constantly sailing into it, having no other captain to chart the course or steer the ship. 

So remember this:  Your destiny is not to be with the “powerful” people you admire.  Your destiny is to be like them.  

 

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From Impossible to I’m Possible

 

(It Doesn’t Take Much for a Team Member to Turn “Powerlessness” Into Leading From Below) 

If you’ve been reading along with these posts, you know that according to my reckoning, all members of The Team are basically entrepreneurs—literally, people who bring (prendre) something into (entre) being.  This means that none of us has the luxury of fitting into some time-tested social or economic structure, then letting that structure carry us along like fallen leaves in a stream.  Because each person on the Team has a new and unique function to fulfill in the effort to save the world, we have to lead our lives, rather than following any existing pattern.  The only stream that carries Teammates is what Eckhardt Tolle calls “the Unmanifested,” or the non-physical energy that is always creating new patterns.

I’ve also said that the energy of leadership can be exercised in three different ways: up, across, and down.  In other words, we must not only lead people who fall below us in the social power structure, but also people who have similar power, wealth, and status, and finally, people who have social or economic power over us.  (Of course, from the Team’s point of view—the perspective of the mystic—all these power differentials are just illusions.  Moreover, since the only way for a Teammate to lead is to serve others, we’re really talking about offering a particularly pure form of service to anyone we meet, no matter how powerless or powerful they may appear.) 

In this post, I’ll be talking about what sounds like the most paradoxical form of leadership: the kind where—at least from a material perspective—you’re at the bottom of an authority structure, “leading up.”  It’s the one sort of leadership everyone can master, because we all start life as almost completely powerless larva pets.  Some of us—such as abused children who go on to abusive marriages, jobs, or prisons—have never seen ourselves as rising above the bottom rung of any power structure.  That can feel like an awful curse.  Time to turn it into a stroke of fabulous luck.

If you’re on the Team, you see, places of apparent disempowerment are wonderful training grounds.  They’re the very places where you can best learn to lead.  Historically, over and over, Team members have shown this ability to become leaders in precisely the sorts of situations where anyone else would have claimed leadership was “impossible.”  Saints, social activists, artists, and other mystics use difficult situations to create new ways of being for themselves, their associates, and sometimes the whole human race.  They became embodiments of infinite possibility.  “Impossible” became “I’m possible.” 

Okay, I went a long way for that sappy pun.  Please forgive me; I don’t get out much. 

Now, back to our Team leadership lesson.

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How are you feeling, really?

by Pamela Slim If I were to attach a giant magic probe to foreheads across the U.S. right now, what emotion do you think would be off the charts? Fear, anyone? Market meltdowns, government bailouts, war, natural disasters and election uncertainty make this point in history a pretty unsettling one, at least for those of read more…