This past Spring, I had the exciting honor of being invited to The Burning Man Network’s Global Leadership Conference. It was colorful, informed, professional, mind expanding and vision inducing. I learned about Risk Mitigation, Art in Civic context, Grantwriting. I enjoyed Ignite speeches and talks from the organization’s leadership. I was with leads from around the world, over 200 people representing their regions. Five of us represented Portland.
I had the following thought during my last workshop, which discussed service leadership and mindful practice. While experiencing a short meditation, this phrasing came to me…
I came away from the conference admitting I am a “Leader”. It is something I have done for years, just, differently. Sometimes I am good at it, sometimes I am awkward. I always associated leadership with seeking power or control. But true leadership does not operate that way. Those who follow or join you have to do so willingly, not because of a hierarchy. The best leaders are reluctant and often see themselves as simply doing what feels right. Leaders do not always know their way, which is acceptable, so long as there is a Vision to aim towards.
During a speech, Marian Goodell, founder and current CEO of the new non profit version of Burning Man, made a startling and accurate assessment. She reminded the entire room that most of them were introverts, that much of the art and sound on playa is made by introverted people, that Burning Man pushes us as we push it. I teared up. Her talk made me brave, I gave her an Introvert Camp sticker after she spoke. She read the tagline and her eyes glossed, her hand went to her smiling mouth-she totally Got It. We hugged. It was awesome!
Another VERY public introvert, a powerful Leader… who feels weird using her new “CEO” title. Aw.
Embracing my new inner title of Leader, I’m starting a new project: Presenting complex concepts of Introversion & Leadership as simple, inspirational memes. I’m making these for all my fellow Intro Leaders out there. I’ll make some intro and attachment related images as well.