Handling the Loneliness of Leadership
In preparation for The Walk for America’s Children (September 5 – October 16, 2013), as the Lead Coordinator, I am experiencing a flux of emotions that I cannot exactly put my finger on. I will attempt to explain them here because I think they are important for those who might become inspired and want to formulate their own actions which challenge the arrangement/structure of public policy failing to serve the public.
This a lonely sojourn. Humans are social creatures. Feelings of loneliness are contrary to our nature so we come up with other ways to express WHAT I am attempting to describe right here. Some have labelled it: the burden of responsibility.
At its core, this emotional current is a lie. No one is really alone, especially someone attempting to rally the attention of 330 million of his countrymen and women. Yet, one feels alone.
Why? The answer lies in the strange cheer of a crowd that you believe has the capacity to join you in the action, yet chooses not too. The excuses are legitimate. Even acceptable.
(I mean, not that you have a choice whether to accept them or not. If a person doesn’t want to participate, you have to give them said ground. What I am referencing is that I AGREE with the excuses.)
Mothers tell me that they are inspired by the idea of the Walk and wish they did not have the responsibility of Motherhood preventing them from participating.
Fathers give me the same authentic reason.
Young men and women don’t choose to participate because they have bills. Or dreams and they desire me to assist them in promoting their own projects.
The unemployed are too angry to participate. They don’t view the political process as responsive. In their imagination, phone calls are not going to be returned. Emails are not going to be replied too. Meetings are not going to be scheduled. And, as evidence, they cite the daily news reports of political deadlock.
The retired are cynical. They sincerely believe nothing is going to change except the downward spiral of society.
In response to all these legitimate excuses, as a “leader” you make pared down suggestions.
Can you take an End Child Hunger picture? No, you cannot find a piece of cardboard, marker or time to take the picture?
Okay, can you then share this blog link from your page? No, because you are on your phone and it won’t let you?
I just wrote something up, can you edit this potential blog piece? No, writing was never your thing?
Can you suggest someone for me to call who might want to help out? No, you don’t know anyone.
Hence, the feeling of loneliness. The tasks fall on the back of the person burning with the “mission.” They know the masses are supportive. However, they are “trained” to be supportive in the manner that Muhammad Ali’s fans were supportive. We love you Ali. However, all we can do to help you is attend the fight.
That leaves the inspired. The inspired do choose to respond. Why? They are either actually experiencing the pain the activist is attempting to relieve or their spiritual tradition is motivating them. They are cut from the same cloth.
All that being said: What do I suggest for handling these emotions?
1) Practice your spirituality. Remind yourself that you are not alone. People are paying attention.
2) Complete what tasks you can everyday. Be patient. Most do not understand how they can help.
3) Maintain your high expectations. The world is changed by very small groups of highly committed souls.