The past few weeks have been very fun and proud for me, as this baby of mine, this pet project, this seed of an idea that was planted more than three years ago, finally saw the sunlight.
The interactive journal—the book born out of a weekly blog that I write—On Wings & Whimsy: Thoughts on Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary—was published as the first product of The Leadership Program for 2017. It's a journal designed for personal reflection and development, rooted in stories of mine that are designed to ignite reflection in others.
At The Leadership Program we focus on leadership development. We are rooted in our work with young people—helping them see, and step into, their leadership; as well as with the educators that work with those young people—helping them see, and step into, the best version of themselves so that they may be an inspiration to those young people. We are passionate about our work with businesses and professionals who are trying to elevate the level of leadership and culture on their teams. We eat, drink, and breathe leadership—and how to ignite it in anyone in our path.
So, it's no wonder I've had more than a few people ponder on what the heck Wings & Whimsy has to do with leadership? And how personal stories lead to professional leadership?
And my answer is simple.
It has everything to do with leadership.
Not the kind of leadership you read about in business books, necessarily. No... this is different. This is magical leadership.
Wings is about inspiration and motivation—the things that lift us up. Whimsy is about joy and laughter—the things that lighten us. I talk about this in the context of life, but leadership is a part of life, right?
Think about the very best boss you ever had. Chances are, they did things to lift you up and to lighten you. Chances are, you felt seen and heard by them. Chances are, they filled your bucket instead of emptying it. Think of the moments when they thought of you when you weren't expecting to be thought about. When they went out of their way to make something just that much better than it needed to be. When they cared for the extras and the details. When they remembered that connecting and being human together is almost always more important than any deadline. That is someone who is practicing magical leadership. I'm sure you've seen it in practice by more than just a boss.
Magical leadership is about seeing people as people first, rather than employees. And magical leadership is about loving those people and making it your utmost goal to make their lives better, whenever possible. Magical leadership is about taking in every single ordinary moment and pondering what extraordinary just might be contained within.
Sounds easy, right?
But, it's just... thinking about magic allowed me to stumble across this quote from Nigerian writer Ben Okri: "Our time here is magic! It's the only space you have to realize whatever it is that is beautiful, whatever is true, whatever is great, whatever is potential, whatever is rare, whatever is unique, in. It's the only space."
And I thought... well that's just it, isn't it?
There isn't one way to be a magical leader. My way is to literally include glitter. But your way might be totally different. There are as many ways to be magical as there are people contemplating it.
That's why the personal stories matter. Magical leadership isn't meant to be contained in your workplace. There are opportunities for magical leadership everywhere. The key is simply to remain dogged in finding what's beautiful, what's true, what's great, what's potential, what's rare, what's unique. Try to find that in your people, in your workplace, in the world around you.
If you do, you'll start to notice differences in the way people respond to your leadership, I bet.
It just might start to feel magical.
For breakfast, I had coffee and a leftover half-eaten bag of goldfish that someone left out last night.