Super Objective Spotlight (Featuring Linda K. Brown)
I think when I participated in the Onstage Leadership Program some years ago, the interesting and poignant term, “Super Objective” was not yet born. If it was, I don’t recall it, but what I do recall is no less than a ‘SUPER’ Objective; like being my authentic self, being vulnerable, really acknowledging and nurturing the gut of my purpose and passion in life personally and professionally; not so much what my accomplishments are, what I look like, nor what my job or career is on the surface, but what excites me, propels me, strengthens me, inspires me, what connects me to others; what I would do without pay or prize, what makes me who I really am intrinsically; this was the Super Objective that our calming, insightful and fearless Guide (Kimberly) directed us to understand, being ‘Onstage’ in life and being enlightened by being our authentic selves.
Onstage leadership reminded me that we live our lives out LOUD every second of the day. When we wake to the dawn, we’re on the stage, ready or not to act out our purpose or not. Sometimes an audience is present and sometimes not; even if there is no audience of others, there is the audience of ‘us’, alone with ourselves, needing to, desiring to, wanting to figure out what’s important in that moment, each day, each month, 525,600 minutes (each year).
Ready. Set. Go! Doesn’t matter if we’re prepared to run or not; physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually; we’re onstage and something is going to happen! Great things can happen on any given day, decisions will be made that will impact your life and perhaps the lives of others; happy thoughts, sad ones, good decisions, bad ones, no decisions, joy, tears, pain, it’s all a great BIG mixed bag of wonderful. What it will be is up to us. Meaning, we can’t always control what happens to us; but we can be in the pilot seat of how we respond. The key is to respond with authenticity.
In essence, be bold, be real, genuine, true, veritable, be an original, not false or copied, a trustworthy source whatever your position in life. If you’re leading an organization In New York City, if you’re managing a nonprofit on the West coast, if you’re supervising a household as a single parent in Texas; if you’re working on the mission fields in Africa, if you’re mentoring our youth on the plains of Georgia or preaching in a synagogue in Rome; we’re still obligated to BE authentic.
Speaking of positions, I’ve been in some great ones in my lifetime; serving in the community leading some needed initiative, in the workplace leading teams and departments. Currently in a great spot; I’ve been blessed with more than I could have imagined for myself. I now gracefully accept that I have the awesome responsibility of leading and mentoring others in corporate America, in my community and in my family, all places that scare many, but not me; surviving here taught me a thing or two about courage; now I ‘thrive in all places’ (translation: learning and growing vs just surviving) even amid occasional discouragement and disappointment.
I THINK myself to happy because I have so much to be grateful for like health, family, good friends, meeting memorable acquaintances, developing new friendships, mentoring and engaging with other professionals, the ability to warmly dialog with strangers, greeting new neighbors with a small gift, anonymously paying for a strangers groceries, the desire to learn more about anything that comes to mind, being in my right mind (well most of the time); being inspired by and loving the arts; admiring the courage of others; crying about the suffering and joys of life; being given the gift of expressing my thoughts on paper; knowing where I came from, who I am and where I want to go. Desiring and embracing love. These are all gifts graciously given and gratefully accepted. It’s important to accept good gifts just as it’s important to give them; all an expression of your authenticity.
Although many great rewards exist in corporate America, in our communities and families, each can sometimes be a place where many masks are worn, authenticity is foreign; fear is on the horizon, trust is elusive, mouths speak with cynicism, leaders are insensitive and people are hurting. I have found myself onstage in all environments, ready to respond authentically. So how do you do this (respond authentically)? What I said before:
“Be bold, be real, be genuine, be true, be veritable, be an original, not false or copied, be a trustworthy source whatever your position in life.” I will add to this, be grateful for whatever you have and where ever you are, if you’re breathing, you’re still here and Onstage and you still have the opportunity to be who you are, who you were created to be; to impact the world in which you live. Big or small contributions accepted, no cash or credit needed.
Thank you Kimberly for thoughtfully creating such a brilliantly creative and interesting vehicle (Onstage Leadership) to transport many to places unknown within themselves and for personally helping me to discover my authentic self where ever I appear Onstage in life.
Linda K. Brown