Humility, Charisma, Humility Redux

When you are the leader or founder of a group or movement it is expected that you will show, well, leadership. It is hoped that God has blessed you with an ample supply of charisma and the innate ability to remain humble no matter the accolades you may encounter. Having said this, leadership requires a kind of presence, strong, certain, put together, an image of determination, the very definition of tenacity and preparation. In other words, real leadership skills. And so it was with these truths dancing in my head that I left my home recently to meet with the steering committee that is forming the Kahrmann Advocacy Center.

Our meeting site is about 25 miles from my home and damned if I was leaving almost on time. I am invariably 15 minutes late for nearly everything. I am late like this with a consistency so staggering (and I secretly think, impressive) that one might think it was a second calling. And here I was, breaking with my norm and leaving my house on time. How on earth had this happen? Never question success, I think, you might just forget to enjoy it.

And so off I drive, heading for the meeting, my notebooks, shoulder bag and writing pen with me along notes on things I’d like to bring up to the committee. The day is early-Fall beautiful, the leaves already bursting into color. A glorious day!

I stop at a red light four or five blocks from the meeting and decide to put my socks on. I always drive in in my bare feet. While it has been well over 20 years since the athlete’s foot that plagued me as a result of living without shoes for a time during homeless days, I am still blisteringly diligent about letting air get to my feet whenever possible. My socks are on and I am looking forward to the meeting when, at two blocks from the meeting site, I make a horrifying discovery. No shoes! Nothing! No shoes, no sneakers, no boots, slippers, sandals, nothing. I am suddenly feeling so sheepish I am embarrassed to be seen with me.  But, I remind myself, I am a leader, a founder of this group, I must lead, I must found, shoes or no shoes, stiff upper lip, chin up, and forward!

I park my car in front of the meeting sight (there is a God), climb out of the car, thank mother nature for not raining, and walk, head held high into the building. The meeting went well. There were the requisite rounds of laughter at my, well, predicament, and fortunately no one brought of the subject of a dress code. It was also not lost on me that had I remembered my shoes, I would have been 15 minutes late and, truth be told, I do like tradition.

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