Prose & Passion: Inspiring and sustaining leadership

Prose & Passion: Inspiring and sustaining leadership

April 27th, 2011 // 10:31 pm @

Recently, I was asked to contribute to a book with the working title of Prose and Passion: Inspiring and sustaining leadership — a book written by everyday people practising everyday leadership.  The editor asked for an example of a book, poem, film, speech, painting, quote, story or person who continues to inspire and sustain my leadership, and I have been asked to say something about the story behind my selection.

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.  Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.  A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.

I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.


W.H.Murray, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition (1951)

This passage is a quotation from William Murray’s book, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition (1951).  It is pinned to the notice board in my office, and it catches my eye on a regular basis — sometimes a daily basis.  I know it off-by-heart, and I hold its sentiments in mind, often unspoken, because in certain moods and at certain times of really needing self-leadership, I can hardly bear to say its words, such is the power they still have to inspire and encourage me.

I am intrigued by the deal it offers — that my energy, my commitment and my caring are attractive, contagious and powerful enough to influence others and bring closer my potential and my dream.

Me and Providence : Providence and Me — it’s an intoxicating thought!

I do know, however, that my energy, commitment and caring certainly have the power to motivate me, if only I will take William Murray’s advice and begin it

I believe that boldness has genius, power and magic in it, and I am also intrigued by this belief.  The creativity and achievement that I experience when in flow is familiar to me.  I know that it is attractive, because I am similarly attracted to follow those whose genius and power I perceive.  It’s the magic that I find really beguiling.

I know perfectly well that magical thinking is irrational and escapist, and probably a displacement activity, but it is also wonderfully intuitive and visionary and absolutely essential for those of us, who, like me, are more motivated by the potential of the future than the reality of the present.  Without magical thinking I may not give myself permission to be bold — to seize the day — and that would be a great pity, because so often it works very well.

Category : People and Organisational

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