What is Leadership? – Is it an ability some people have that others don’t? Or is it a skill that can be developed over time?
I am not the person to answer these questions. All I know are the choices I have to make for myself.
I am young, and just starting my career, so there are many, many choices in front of me. Do I want to pursue a master’s degree? If so, then when, where and in what? What country do I want to live in? What do I want to become?
See, here’s the thing. I am a very achievement-oriented person – that’s what made school so rewarding for me, and also the reason I have an addiction to video games (I’m working on it, okay?). It also means that I could see myself becoming CEO of Apple, or president of the USA, or even a mom, just to see if I can. Just because it would be hard.
Here’s the point: I’m young, hungry, and willing to do whatever it takes to be successful… but should I be?
I live in a culture that celebrates excess in food, lifestyle, clothing, wealth and work. Enough is never enough. It’s a culture of business that celebrates first class flights to Hong Kong every week – never mind your family. A culture of images that celebrates emaciated bodies – never mind your health. A culture of work that celebrates 80-hour weeks, and answering work emails while watching your child on the playground, because that’s what a hustle looks like. That’s what it takes to get ahead.
But sometimes I wonder if we are all collectively falling behind. Is there something to be celebrated in living simply? What would that mean? What would that take?
Maybe it would mean not getting a masters, because for what I want to do, I am qualified enough. Maybe it would mean working on small projects, with no recognition, because I want to stay true to my values more than I want the world to see me. And it might just mean staying on the bottom of the ladder, because at the end of the day, I don’t need the kudos from the world telling me I did a great job and I was a great leader.
Maybe it means letting myself fall behind, as an act of resistance. Because I want to make more time to pray, to eat with other believers, to make disciples. Because I want to love others well and do all the other things that Jesus has said his followers do.
I might never be the president of anything, but I think I can still demonstrate leadership, because leadership is the choice to do something differently for the sake of other people.