On a Well-Rounded Leadership Style

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As someone stepping into the CEO role for a nonprofit organization for the first time, it has been quite the developmental journey to embrace a leadership style that works for the creative and collaborative culture of the Children’s Creativity Museum. My understandings of who I am and who I need to be as a leader for the organization have evolved over the fast-paced and packed year that I’ve officially held the role.

A recent realization that is providing me a lot of peace of mind is that I don’t actually have to choose one particular leadership style. Sure, my staff wants consistency, AND adaptive leadership requires that we have an array of leadership styles into which we can tap in order to respond to a changing world. I can be authoritative and make solid decisions, AND I can be collaborative in thinking through a project. I can feel like I’m alone at the top, AND I can consciously connect with my support network.

It’s like shifting gears. When I am going uphill, I can kick it up a notch. And when I’m on the highway, I can cruise.

The choice in leadership style, then, becomes not about who I need to be forever-and-ever-amen, but rather what is required of me in a given situation.

Ora Ye Ye O!

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In Brazil, today is the feast day of Yemanja/Iemanja, the spirit of the Divine Mother as embodied by the seas. Her love is as vast as the ocean. For many, it was her love and protection that safely delivered the wisdom of the Yoruba tradition brought by the slaves through the Transatlantic trade to the Americas.

As millions of Brazilians and others flock to the shores of the sea to deliver their supplications and white-flower offerings to the ocean, I cannot help but have my heart join them in prayer. Iya koromi o! “Mother of my heart!” Now, more than ever, this world needs you. This world needs your wisdom, your grace, your nurturing power. We need your creativity and your commitment to wholeness. We need your vision to build a world filled with peace.

And so may we all open our hearts to you, and celebrate your spirit this day! Ora ye ye o, Yemaya!

Tearing It Down

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The other day, I was telling a coworker that sometimes you need to tear something down in order to build it back up into something better. I was talking about work challenges, but I was also speaking a larger truth about Life. It’s moments like this in my life when everything seems to be falling apart – with Aaron leaving… and remaining focused at work… and doing what I can to quietly maintain Balance in the family – when one is forced to confront the ways in which one’s life is no longer structured to work for new circumstances.

Yes, I need to build something new with my life. But first, I need to look around and find what else doesn’t work and to tear those habits/ideas/circumstances down….

What Will I Create

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Yesterday, I came across the following quote in Deepak Chopra’s The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga: “Creativity is the process of taking the same raw material and creating different contexts and relationships between the components.”

For some reason, this stood out for me. Creativity is one of the core values for Zeum: San Francisco’s Children’s Museum, where I work. Usually, I distinguish Creativity as forming something from nothing,… calling forth expression from the blank canvas of the imagination of youth.

Yet, this definition was a particularly potent one for where I am with Aaron. I feel like my life is being taken apart, yet I forget the opportunity to piece it together in a whole new way. New contexts. New relationships for the different elements of my life.

What will I create with my life?