Daring to lead, from the back of the pack
I was at a retreat in Ibiza recently when the idea of ‘being a leader’ was once again brought into my attention. Having spoken the supposed ‘unspeakable’ in a group session the latest Brené Brown book (Dare to Lead) was then mentioned and I just happened to have taken my copy with me. Ever since I read Daring Greatly I have been a passionate supporter of her research and musings on vulnerability.
A fair amount of time was then spent debating what it meant to be a ‘leader’ and how this often meant making the difficult choices. Which in turn often led to feelings of being removed from a group or feelings of not fitting in.
Later in the week someone posted a picture in the retreat chat group about how the leader of a wolf pack actually sits at the back of the pack to keep an eye on all its charges. The observation with the picture read ...
“A wolf pack: the first 3 are the old or sick, they give the pace to the entire pack. If it was the other way round, they would be left behind, losing contact with the pack. In case of an ambush they would be sacrificed. Then come 5 strong ones, the front line. In the center are the rest of the pack members, then the 5 strongest following. Last is alone, the alpha. He controls everything from the rear. In that position he can see everything, decide the direction. He sees all of the pack. The pack moves according to the elders pace and help each other, watch each other.”
I loved this imagery as it sat congruent with my feelings of being apart from most groups that I inhabit. However, after doing some research upon my return - all might not be as it seems with the Facebook logic. Much to my dismay. Despite the Facebook image’s popularity, the attached description of the inner workings of a wolf pack were (and are) inaccurate.
In conclusion, it doesn’t matter if you lead from the front or from the back. All that matters is that you make decisions based on knowledge and insight and do this with a loving and full heart.
I have discovered on my journey that my heart will always tell me what I really need to know. There was always one clear answer from the heart, about what was right for me in any given situation. When I have experimented with acting on those choices, the outcomes have always been good. I never felt doubt or regret. There was a consistent sense of acting in alignment with my true self, my true purpose…my truth.
The fundamental basis for this approach to making decisions is mindfulness. Being mindful means being able to “sink down” below the turbulent surface of thoughts, projections, fears, and perceptions that all clamour for my attention when I have a decision to make. It means having a still center from which I can then be aware of the quieter, and subtler, signals in my body, my heart.