Limitless Loving Leadership

L3: Introduction

Limitations exist for many reasons: to protect us from physical or emotional danger; to conserve and allocate limited resources; and to balance the needs of human beings in relationship. They serve functions that are both natural and imposed; they can be real or illusory. Limitations can feel like barriers, constraints, or obstacles that interfere with our desire for, and ability to pursue, human liberation.

While the limitations in our lives may seem endless, the love in our hearts need not be. Limitless loving leadership offers an antidote to the feelings of powerlessness, cynicism, despair, and frustration that can block even the most creative and cheerful of leaders from time to time.

Leadership is the process of resisting and redefining limitations, yet we live in a world where limitations seem to be limitless. Love can help us transcend those spiritual, emotional, physical, and intellectual limitations that inhibit our true nature through self-awareness, community harmonization, and divine connection.

The ideas in this blog series apply to leaders of all kinds – mothers who are in charge of unruly (or well-behaved) children, CEOs of transnational corporations, grassroots community group leaders, teachers, coaches, neighbors, and friends. We all have the opportunity to exercise leadership when we make decisions that impact other human beings and our planet. This typically happens hundreds of times every day. Limitless Loving Leadership will help you cultivate awareness about the many ways all human beings assume the role of leader, regardless of the magnitude of each person’s impact, and to be more intentional about the decisions you make.

Limitless loving leadership is based on five infinite, renewable resources that actually multiply whenever they are used:

  1. Love – the light that shines from within our souls and radiates through our every thought and action
  2. Compassion – the understanding that all living things are interconnected and that we share a yearning for lovingkindness
  3. Wisdom – the collective experience and knowledge of ourselves, our communities, and the universe
  4. Sincerity – the ability to be honest, authentic, and straightforward with ourselves and others especially during those times when it feels uncomfortable
  5. Hope – a sense that the future will be glorious and recognition that we, as leaders, have an instrumental role to play in realizing this dream

Our approach to limitless loving leadership will be based on three philosophical ideas. It is:

  1. Interdisciplinary – leadership practice is strengthened through the exploration inclusion, and integration of diverse epistemologies, ideologies, and methodologies
  2. Holistic – all things are connected, often in interesting and unexpected ways
  3. Fluid – matter, thoughts, and interactions are in a constant state of motion which reminds us to be evolutionary, flexible, and detached from what we believe the truth to be at any given moment

Scientific inquiry in the academy calls for rigid definitions and operationalization of concepts. As a doctoral student and future keeper of the discipline, I fully value and accept the responsibility of that approach. Limitless Loving Leadership is a different kind of experiment – one that engages not only our minds, but also our hearts and our souls. Our definition of limitless loving leadership allows room for mystery, wonder, and imagination.

I have come to the painful (not yet transcendent) realization that I am nothing and I know nothing. I do not profess that this blog series will make you more rich or successfully or happy. As Gil Scott-Heron said in The Revolution will not be Televised, “the revolution will not make you look five pounds thinner.” Neither will this blog series. What will Limitless Loving Leadership help you become or achieve? That’s up to you. My hope is that Limitless Loving Leadership will serve as a source of inspiration, encouragement, and amusement for any and all people who embrace and live the joyous struggle of change. By the time you are finished reading this blog series, I hope you are able to not only step outside of “the box” but to realize that the box was never really there in the first place – it was only a figment of our collective imaginations.

Limitless loving leadership is based on the assumption that our personal and professional lives are deeply intertwined and that changing who we are as a person has a profound impact on our professional life. This, in turn, impacts the communities and society in which we live. At times when writing this blog series, I felt overwhelmed with sadness. I realized that I am not living up to my potential in some areas and that I often feel uncertain about my next steps. If you feel resistance as you work through this blog series, spend some time with your feelings and consider discussing what you have learned with a friend (or professional, if needed). I have not yet developed the maturity to fully employ all of the concepts in this blog series all of the time. My goal is to fully align my values and intentions with action. We are on this journey together.

I spent a few days with His Holiness the Dalai Lama as he lectured to a large crowd at Lehigh University in the summer of 2008. He extolled the many virtues of Buddhism and its practical application to diverse daily matters. He acknowledged that not all tenets of this particular belief system would be welcome by all. He told the audience that if there were aspects of his teachings not to their liking then, and I quote, “F**k it. No problem.”

Like the Dalai Lama, I encourage you to sort through the material in this blog series, use what is relevant, meaningful, or useful to you, and leave the rest behind. No problem.

Note: This series was written in 2010 and 2011 and may or may not reflect my current thinking