“Living with one foot raised”: The Heroic Leadership Experience
Junior Advocacy Officer, SLB
Heroic Leadership is a global formation program for emerging leaders rooted in practical spirituality that is aimed to shape a world ignited by compassionate love. It draws from the groundbreaking book Heroic Leadership by Chris Lowney. Heroic Leadership is a values-based and integrated approach to training that goes with and beyond skills competencies. It is committed to producing deeply positive and enduring results in both personal and professional contexts.
It happened on a weekend where everyone just dropped everything else, went, and had, probably, one of the most meaningful experiences they’ve ever had. This is saying something given the fact that most, if not all, of the participants already had backgrounds with sufficient leadership trainings and seminars behind them. Composed of 12 participants from various sectors, the Heroic Leadership (HL) weekend was something that everyone would never forget. I know I won’t.
It didn’t turn out as what, I think, almost everyone expected it to be. To most, including myself, the expectation was that it was just going to be another leadership training just like the ones that we’ve had before. Here’s another two days and two nights of nothing but techniques, skills training, team building, and talks, talks, talks. As with these kinds of things, there’s this template being followed when conducting such exercises on leadership. So how can HL be different from all the rest? As it turned out, that was wrong. We were wrong.
I was the youngest and I didn’t exactly have that much experience as compared to the others when it comes to life, events, and all that stuff so I was kind of expecting that I wouldn’t really have that much to contribute if it ever comes to that point. However, during the duration of the weekend, I found out that each and everyone’s contribution to the training was vital to the progression of our experience. And what mainly struck me was how HL was meant to engage the participants both individually and as a group in a more personal way.
It was as if the weekend was meant for each of us to individually grow but at the same time know that this growth would not have been possible without the participation of everyone in the group. HL’s approach was more personal, more in-depth and more grounded upon certain principles that are obvious through its presence but are most of the time overlooked due to certain aspects in life that overshadow the things that are most important.
We tend to do that. We have this tendency to turn away from ourselves and from what’s important to us because of our aspirations that we set for ourselves that really aren’t ours if we just try to look at it long and hard enough. The penchant of social structures seems to naturally eat us alive so that we can survive in a world filled with people, events, and things who/that are “not nice” at all. “Pleasantville”, after all, did not really exist. At the very least, in the way we want it to be.
“Living with one foot raised” was somewhat a wake-up call for those of us who still lived with the expectation that life was sure to go our way. It is not like that. As what they always say, “The only constant thing in life is change.” Things won’t go our way. Things will not turn out as we want them to be. Things will turn around and just slap us just to get us to wake up. The challenge is for us to grab these experiences, no matter how good or bad, and take them as it is.
We must be open to possibilities and take it as it but before we do that we must first know who we are, what we want, and what we are capable of. This is what HL is all about. The personal approach to the personal call for leadership in each and every one. The first step towards affecting change and, at the same time, accepting matters starts from ourselves. We are great in our own way. From there everything follows. However, we must also acknowledge that, though that is the case, we are not gifted in so many things as well. In those instances, we leave space for grace.
Life workouts. Life works out. The exercise of life and the acceptance of key things about ourselves, our relation to others, our passion, our capabilities, and everything else in between will give us the capacity to face everything and anything that life hands us. Once we learn how to work with these situations, we’ll see that somehow and in some way, life really does work out. We are heroes in our own right. We are leaders in our own way. It’s just a matter of knowing and willing how to be one through our own personal style.
The HL experience was an eye-opener for most of us who participated last weekend. It left a mark that we all will surely bring with us in everything that we do. HL gave us the necessary tools to discern and to learn how things must be for us to be heroes and leaders in our own contexts. For most people, it takes a lifetime to figure these kinds of things out. However, I’ve learned that that shouldn’t be the case. Sometimes all it takes is just one experience. Sometimes all it takes is a weekend. Sometimes all it takes are the right people. Sometimes all it takes is a Heroic Leadership experience.