(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.