I had this idea stuck in my head yesterday morning. A call to action of sorts. It was compelling, and I know that feeling:
How do you lead those who won’t be led?
Be in front of them.
That didn’t seem like enough to express it though…
If we don’t agree, cool.
Don’t tell me your opinion. I have mine already.
Do something positive that expresses that.
Be the change you want to see in me.
That was better… but the idea seemed older. I just couldn’t put my finger on it, so I let it sit because I know that feeling.
I got about my business, and later it dawned on me:
This picture has been on the wall in my home since I was a little boy, and it’s meant a lot to me. I’ve tried to understand what it meant every time I’ve walked by it, and that’s happened so many times I’ve grown completely unaware of it. It became unconscious. It became a script.
Yesterday, it bubbled up from the unconscious to my conscious mind and I made sense out of it. If you know me well enough, you already understand. If not, this is a plaque my father’s friends made to honor him. He died when I was young, and his friends have taken great efforts to help me understand the kind of man he was by sharing what they saw and knew of him. That they did this twenty five years after he died completely blows my mind. I can’t thank them enough for this, but I can express exactly what that message was.
Above the best – follow me encourages us to be the best version of ourselves, and to lead by example. Further, it means that we are at our best when we are our best with the intent to do the best for others.
This is a valuable script. It became a core part of my identity, and it’s repeated so many times I almost forgot the source. I’ve written on this theme one way or another for decades. Music and words. Recognizing that is part of becoming more whole as an individual, and not just a bunch of unconscious patterns that repeat. (Would Jung have called this re-integration? I don’t know. I’m no expert.)
This is a pattern I will keep. Recognizing it allows me to make a conscious choice about whether it benefits me or not. This one clearly does because I’ve seen it improve my life. I’ve seen it play out in the lives of those I look up to in my family, and throughout literature and history. It’s got legs. It resonates.
PS: After writing this article I came across a movie called “Above The Best” about military aviators. This seems to be an important theme to other people too.
Being a man is complicated right now. That’s something I’ve written about recently: