Ferocious amounts of fortitude


It’s been a while since I posted about leadership here.  I admit it.  I got sideswiped by Jesus and have spent months of blog posts trying to work out exactly what he has done to me.

And I haven’t totally got it yet.  Judging by the weekend I’ve just had, I predict many more months of grappling with recent seismic movements in my spirituality.  My spirituality, please note, not my theology.  The latter is about the same percentage orthodox and heretical as it ever was.  (I’ve studied too much theology to convince even myself that I’m in no sense a heretic.  There are almost certainly large swathes of my thinking which are not yet sanctified!)

Anyway spirituality aside, temporarily at least, I’m coming back to leadership.  You know…the other alleged focus of my blogging!  Leadership, that word which used to be largest in the tag cloud because it was most often used – until the last few months came along and every post was tagged ‘spirituality’.

In fairness, I’ve not stopped caring about leadership.  It’s still an ongoing interest.  I’m still trying to write a PhD about leadership.  And I’m still reading lots of things relating to leadership.  Here’s an excerpt of a recent read:

When I started my organization, no one told me that half of my energy would be spent actually building and leading it and the other half, even more, would be spent protecting it and defending it against all of the things other people wanted it to be.  It takes a ferocious amount of spinal fortitude to not end up making a crappy mix of your vision and endless bits and scraps from others who didn’t have the cojones to start something themselves.

Cloud, Boundaries for Leaders

The truth of this statement hit me as soon as I read it.  It resonated for leadership situations I’ve been in but it also echoed for me in the context of self-leadership.  How much time have I spent trying to protect and defend the truth of who I am and what I do from all of the things other people wanted me to be?  The answer, of course, is twofold.  A lot.  And not enough.

And the thing is that other people have ended up paying for that.  Because the crappy* mix that I’ve offered them has been so much less than it should have been.  It’s been so much less than the me God created me to be.  A lot of the time those people didn’t know they were being shortchanged.  They saw competence, diligence, efficiency, sometimes even flair – and they asked no questions.  Nor, for a long time, did I.  I was what I did.  I was, particularly, what I did well.  The governing vision was dictated more by those things, and by what others wanted, than by the impossible predictions whispered by God all those years ago.

Yet something’s begun to awaken for me.  You see it in the flow of recent writing.  The predictions still seem impossible but it’s time to exercise a ferocious amount of spinal fortitude and, oh, is it costly and beautiful and confusing!  Yes, something has begun to stir for me but what about you?  Have you already begun this journey of becoming clear about who it is that God is calling you to be in the world?  And are you too exercising that ferocious fortitude in order not to end up with the crappy mix?


* Excuse the language?  I’m usually pretty restrained in my speaking and always in my writing: I think to err on the side of linguistic good taste is preferable as I don’t want to obscure my message by inviting a reaction to just one word of it.  Sometimes, however, a word just says what you need it to say.  This is one of those times, perhaps especially because here Cloud has used it first.

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