Are you who you want to be?

I’ve had good reason to reflect today and gone back to a question I was asked a few years ago by a year 5 child at a school in Salford. Clare Campbell asked me to talk about Rebuilding Schools Nepal and a school in the remote Himalayan mid-hills I first visited 2 weeks before the 2015 earthquakes.

The children were full of great questions:
❓How far do the children walk to school?
❓What do you eat when you’re there?
❓Where do you sleep?
❓Where do you go to the toilet? (pertinent as there were no toilets at the school when we first began our work.

Then came a really good question…

‘Are you who you want to be?’

I checked as I thought she meant ‘Are you doing what you want to do?’ But her question was, ‘Are you who you want to be?’

This is a powerful question. It’s about identity, values and belonging.

Often with leadership we talk about the practice, the role, the outcomes. Leadership is primarily about who we are, our values and purpose rather than our exaltations. Not a received story, someone else’s ambition or regurgitated moral purpose.

Here’s what I learned:
🔆 Our sense of purpose comes from gaining deep insight and understanding about what honestly fulfils us.
🔆Clarity of purpose sustains us through adversity.
🔆Being in touch with this great passion builds commitment, courage and new possibilities.

I talk about this some more in my TEDx talk in 2019 following an invite from Amir Zeid

I’ve posted lots about 🔆Beyond Headship🔆 recently. If you’re unsure of your sense of purpose right now, fatigued and feeing like the map you have no longer matches the territory.

I’ve had a few questions – ‘I’m a senior leader, not a head, can I come?’ Yes of course. You’re very welcome. We’re talking about what really matters.

btw the children in the picture are full of aspirations, 2 doctors, an engineer and a pilot! What about you?