Monday, March 7, 2016

Authentic Leadership:
The Lesson of the Lunch Box

“In all the world there is no one like me; in all of the world, there is no one who can do what I can do.”

This was the lesson I was fortunate enough to learn, back when I was a kid growing up in Wilmington, Delaware.

The Society of Friends has one of the best education programs anywhere. Everyone wanted to go to Friends School, but most of us could not afford it. Fortunately, they had a summer program for a selected few and fortunately for me, my teacher Karen Denton got my name on the list.

That summer, we were to think of all of the the things we could do and explore our possibilities.

It was an amazing time, so the following year when I declared to anyone listening that I was going to be a sociologist, everyone laughed. Mainly because no one knew what it was and also because they knew that something with “ologist” on it would require money that my family didn’t have.

I believe that Purpose, like nature, finds a way. It pushes through the cracks in the sidewalk to grow and bloom even when it’s been stepped on. 

Purpose finds a way.

Still, finding and living your own purpose needs a few things:

It needs you to listen to it.
It needs you to respond.
It needs you to know yourself.
And it needs you love and embrace what you find.

Which takes me to the lesson of the lunchbox. Years ago, I was discussing the whole Purpose thing with my friend and manager Jeanine Chambers. She laughed and said that it reminded her of her  lunch box.

I asked her what she meant and she said that her mother always packed what they needed for their lunch. Being children, she and her siblings all decided that they didn’t want the things they had been given. So at lunch time, they would make trades with other kids only to find that what they previously had was what they really wanted and needed.

What you need you already possess.

Because they were kids, they had to keep learning the lesson over and over again until they got sick from something someone else had.

Your family, work, community and world need you to be the authentic leader you were designed to be.

Stop trading your abilities, talents, compassion wisdom and knowledge for short-lived fads and trends that take you around and around in circles. 

Your purpose and leadership can take us all forward.

Be you, be well, be Authentic.
Bertice Berry, PhD.

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