When I was a little girl my father made a flipchart book that he used at church (as a lay minister). This was long before the days of videos or even overhead projectors. He had carefully cut and paste pictures to make this book to tell a story that expressed the core value that was close to his heart, “The worth of all persons.”
The book told a story of a little girl, and all the things she loved to do. She loved to play with dolls, go to parties, sing and play games. After each picture of something she loved to do just the same as all little girls was the question, “But why do people hate me?” You could just imagine a little girl asking this question. In her mind she is just like every other little girl. She wants to do the same things, but she is excluded. But why? The final page in the book was just one picture; the picture of the little girl. An Aboriginal girl.
In the 60’s with a very Anglo Saxon society and the” White Australian Policy”, this was a poignant message.
Every time my father would use this book again, it would mean more to me. This is truly a message that my father lived right through his life. Every person, no matter where they are from, the colour of their skin, the religion they practice, whether they are a homeless drunk in the street or a world leader, they are all of equal worth and value.
My father and my mother have been powerful influences in my life. They certainly influenced my core values and beliefs about what is right and how to treat other people. As leaders, they taught me the importance of “Servant leadership”. Being a leader is not about standing up front and dictating what everyone else does. It is about leading from behind, being with the people and helping them to grow and achieve what it is they want to do in life. To explore who they are and how they can be a better person and fulfil their roles in a meaningful way. How they can life their purpose and serve at a higher level. This is what being a leader is all about, this is the kind of leader I endeavour to be.
As I contemplate my own personal “Why”, why I am so passionate about equality of people, everyone being able to follow their own spiritual path and to live their purpose, these stories fill my mind, along with many others. Knowing why we do what we do or want to achieve is very important. It helps us to shape our direction. When we can share our “Why” with others they start to understand where you are coming from and the purpose of your journey. It helps them to be able to get on board; they can start to believe in you and your mission.
Take some time to contemplate your own personal why. What are the stories of your life that have influenced who you are today and why you feel passionate about what you do?