My moment to rethink leadership
With my personal websites crashing this past weekend, because my shared hosting service lost all my data, I’ve started to rethink why I do what I do online, with much of it being given away freely for going on 20 years. And, it so happens I am going to a church conference called Rethink Leadership in Atlanta.
there’s so much riding on leadership
In a world that’s investing a lot of time, energy, and money in leadership development, both corporations and churches, I find myself an odd man out because my contribution isn’t that organizational leadership type of thing, where the free market economy and nonprofit fundraising worlds rewards. In other words, if leadership is growing and leading and managing an organization, that’s not me, not motivated to develop the skills to do.
Plus, with organizational leadership, there is no cruise control. Someone has to stay in the driver’s seat and there is no auto-pilot; it’s a treadmill that has to keep running, keep growing, keep sustaining, keep the lights on, keep raising up new leaders in some kind of pipeline, and (many of) those are good things that provide gainful employment and produce services and goods needed or wanted by society. Occasionally, some of those organizations aren’t able to change with the times, as the world is constantly changing, then those orgs meet their demise. And like the circle of life, other organizations startup and fill in the new opportunities and gaps in our economic ecosystem.
what if leadership is organic and not organizational?
Now, if leadership is merely influence, then I can say yes, I have some degree of influence in the worlds that I engage with, namely represented by the acronymn M.S.G.—multiethnic diversity, shame, and generosity. These 3 remain as to what I am compelled to do, have the personal motivation and energy to do, withy remaining days, as I enter my mid-50s.
This weekend’s data disaster shows just how fragile and vulnerable websites are, that echos just how fragile and vulnerable my life is too.
But, I can only do so much on my discretionary volunteer time on these passion projects, so to speak. If and when some others would come along and handle the monetization potential for one or more of these ideas, then more impact will result. It’s not something I can do alone. Part of it will me having the courage and faith to ask for help, invite others into the vision, raise the resources, and other conventional organizational development things.
Or, maybe not.
2 ways Jesus inspires me personally most
I’m more inspired by the example of Jesus, in 2 ways. Firstly, Jesus did not launch a startup or built an organization, yet he totally changed the whole world for over 2,000 years. The “movement” known as Christianity grew from a small group of 12 disciples who had 3 years of personal training, and they did not publish quarterly or annual reports to track their progress. 4 gospels did get written years later, along with dozens of letters in the New Testament, so publishing and distribution does matter.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m no Jesus nor have a messiah complex to save the world. I’m of the persuasion that making deeper personal impact in 12 people is meaningful enough for me. I don’t have to strive to reach my full potential and stress myself out for falling short.
The other story that resonates for me is the parable of the seeds, also known as the parable of the sower. Most of the time when I hear this parable taught, it’s a framework for identifying the most fertile soil and focusing our efforts on the receptive to get better results, calling it good stewardship. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
The other part also in the story that’s there is this: the sower scattered seeds everywhere randomly. Period. That is an essential part of the equation.
I can relate to that much more, scattering the seeds of good ideas that has incredible potential to change the world and transform the lives of people. Yup, it’s more about activities rather than measurable results or impact; but you know what, there it is.
Where does that leave things with my websites?
I don’t have an answer yet. I blog all this to ponder anew where I’m at today, and how I am sorting thru my priorities and values, as I just start thinking thru which of my websites I will restore and which ones I will prune.
In true open source fashion, I’m exploring and thinking out loud online and offline, meeting with people in-person and on the internet. The future is not a solitary or solo effort, and I’m praying for the right conversation partners who can appreciate what I have done in the past, and join me in charting a path for the future here at djchuang.com and other parts of my digital presence.
Thanks for letting me share.