How to Lead

The Currency of Ideas

The Currency of Ideas

“Perhaps it’s our desire to be saved, to not have to do the hard work, to rely on someone else to figure things out.”

Leadership in the Age of Complexity: From Hero to Host | Margaret Wheatley with Debbie Frieze ©2010



I completely agree that people are generally swept away by heroes, as they find it easier to be inspired by someone else than to inspire themselves. Not all people, however, are easily led. However some, like myself, are quite hardheaded and skeptical, weary of entrancement and generally mistrusting. “Easy come easy go.” 


Collectively going with the flow seems to be the antidote to individually trying to control each other. But just how exactly do we inspire, influence, and infuse one another when we are all on such different paths?


Inclusion is one way we can cross the great divide. 

Another way is by being patient and lowering our expectations.



Young companies, fast companies, entrepreneurs, and the startup mentality has shown me in the past 20 years that a leader can be anyone with an idea. It takes much more than an idea to lead, and it takes even more to stand the test of time and weather the storms of the economy, including recession, but ideas, energy and dedication can take us quite far.


Leaders must be prepared for the ups and downs, the challenges, the failures, and the learning curves, while on their journey. 


I was inspired by a great leader once. It was her calm demeanor, combined with her contagious zeal and passion, and her incredible humility and approachability that drew me in an even made me want to possess more of those qualities. Of course I believe the way we see others (and the world) is ultimately a reflection of how we see ourselves. That being said perhaps it was not her personality that I saw, but my values instead. 


This leader fought diligently and creatively to cultivate a forum where other likeminded, passionate creatives could come together, hone their craft, and uplift one another to promote sustainability. It was the way in which she believed in her cause that made me believe even more in mine.


“You’re acting as a hero when you believe that if you just work harder, you’ll fix things;  that if you just get smarter or learn a new technique, you’ll be able to solve problemsfor others. You’re acting as a hero if you take on more and more projects and causesand have less time for relationships. You’re playing the hero if you believe that you cansave the situation, the person, the world.”


I am absolutely a hero, and it is EXHAUSTING. It is only inspiring for a short time, until one gets to know me. Then it is frightening, annoying, and eventually frustrating to those who care for me. I will not receive help, I will not quit until I fall down, and if I lack support I will drive my heels even deeper into the ground until I either meet my objective or pass out. When I find myself alone, angry, and being heroic, I must take a deep breath and call to mind that inspiring leader and the calm and confidence she exuded.