In my life, I've been incredibly fortunate to have had the experience of working with some people who have inspired and encouraged me. For some of them, the words they have spoken and written have been crucial. They have articulated ideas and illuminated difficult concepts for me. The clarity of their thinking has made it possible for me to learn and grow. They have planted seeds that have grown over the years and helped me develop my own ideas and occasional insights.
Others have had a more practical style of leadership. They have shown me by their actions how to 'be'...they have demonstrated kindness, generosity and patience and as they did that I felt safe enough to ask the stupid question, make the crass statement. They NEVER made me feel stupid. Never made me feel a bother. They took me seriously, encouraged me to keep going and strive harder. The way they lived matched the things they said. I've wanted to be like them but often fallen short.
I've been grateful to have such people all the way through my life. These days, they mostly live in a different hemisphere and I miss the closeness of their inspiration and support. Thank goodness for the internet and Facebook.
Recently though I've been feeling a dearth of inspirational leadership here in Perth...you know...the kind of people that you'd join photocopying leaflets at midnight...that you'd dig in the fields for...pass the buckets in a line to put out the fire...man the telephones for hours at a time. The people that inspire you to work for the cause, sweat in the sun, pass out the blankets...do whatever it takes to get the work done and the message out there. People who are that heady mixture of substance and charisma...
I can't help but feel that we're at a critical point in our collective life on this planet. Whether we're thinking about global warming...or debt...or corruption and apathy in government...or the erosion of our communities and our apparently casual indifference towards one another...
Or whether our immediate concerns are more domestic...we're wondering what the NDIS will mean for us...how will our children turn out and what kind of world will they have to live in...or we're concerned about the recent change of government...or wondering about how to make the money we have stretch out for today and can't bear to think of how it will be in our old age...
These feel like important times with important issues that could bear some thoughtful, kind consideration...and yes, I wouldn't mind a leader or two...
In a way, it's kind of childish for me to look for this. It's the same sort of feeling that I had when my Mother passed away. With both parents gone almost my first thought when I heard the news was 'Who will look after me now?' - swiftly followed by the realisation that I'd better just learn to look after myself.
I've read the stuff about leading from wherever you sit. I know that I need to step up and do what I can. But no-one is going to join a revolution because I ask them to or stop acting out their ugly prejudice because I say that it is
A. BAD. THING...
I hope that maybe something I say or do might encourage someone to think or act differently...but I'd like to have someone stronger to follow.
So...what to do?
P.S - Talking about leadership...Margaret Doherty has done amazing work in the Mental Health Sector. I've worked with her and can testify to her fierce intelligence, wisdom and insight. She is the hardest worker I know and with the organisation she convenes, Mental Health Matters 2, has created a space where the voice of the families of some of our most vulnerable citizens can be heard. She is a gracious and resolute supporter of the individuals and family members who connect with Mental Health Matters 2
She is the State winner in the Pride of Australia (Care and Compassion) Award. She's now up for the People's Choice Award and needs people to vote for her.
This award carries a cash prize that would develop the work of Mental Health Matters 2...Margaret has a plan for it!
Support her in making that plan a reality by voting for her at
This is a bit of the information carried in the Telegraph about Margaret and her work.
Get voting! All the best to Margaret and Mental Health Matters 2