Quote from the Gnostic Gospels (approx.) “When you fail to express what is within you, it will kill you. When you express what is within you, it will save you.”
The old Scottish definition of leadership “To show the way by going first” captures the courage expressed in action which is essential to leadership. It is a definition which includes integrity by including public action.
There is a deeper integrity to leadership. Like the Scottish definition, this leadership is not a reference to authority or formal position but is available to everyone. It is leadership which is best distributed throughout a community.
What is implied but not explicit in “to show the way” is that one knows the way. This, however, is not to be taken as a position of arrogance. To know the way is the human condition. We are all given to know the way and we all have individual interpretations of that way.
There is no “the” way, if by that we mean right, correct, true, “one and only”. But each of us has a way. It is the only way individually because it is ours – our expression, our creation, our destiny. In this sense, destiny is not fixed nor completely outside our influence yet it is historical and meaningful in the context of our lives. Its development was emergent rather than arbitrary or random.
The way that each of us has an integrated view of what is possible, what is desirable, what is “right”, is based in our unique lives and being. To be successful in life is to have integrated with society and the universe. Hence, your personal ways has already been proven sufficient to be taken notice of.
Leadership is the authentic expression of the integrated whole that our lives are. Effective leadership which has strong influence on others occurs when that integration has extended beyond our personal boundaries and concerns to integrate with a much larger extension of the universe.
Leaders are able to show the way for many – in principle, rather than in detail – by a consistent and creative interpretation of meaning in the flows of energy and information that constitute current social conditions and possibility.