This is for any leader in our world who’s tired of cultures of fear, control, distrust, cynicism, isolation, unhealthy competition, status quo and fear of failure. Let’s keep shifting our cultures together toward something more beautiful, more compelling and much more effective.
A Manifesto For a Palms Up Leader
We show up.
When it’s convenient and when it’s difficult.
We willingly place ourselves in brave spaces so others can feel brave too.
We know grace and love will rise in moments of vulnerability and honesty.
We choose to unclench our fists from our proven strategies and past successes.
We relax our tense shoulders and release control of outcomes.
We open our palms to the sky in tentative courage
So that wisdom and plans and joy can enter, then leave and enter again.
We take care of ourselves first so we can care for others.
We don’t just say that. We actually do it.
We shut down our computers and phones and step away to rest and play.
Our families know our hugs, feelings and laughter.
They see our eyes.
We collaborate with and encourage our colleagues.
We know there’s no such thing as competition among us.
It’s an old story that we’re ready to let it go.
We need every single one of us in the game, fully alive and ready to go.
We have nothing to prove.
We are not defined by our metrics and numbers and stats.
Our worth isn’t hidden in our latest greatest idea.
We are already loved.
We create out of joy, delight and holy necessity.
We go to therapy. We have spiritual directors.
We might even have a coach. We have friends.
We have listening ears we trust with the truest parts of our story.
We build a team of people who shine a light for us so we can shine a light for others.
We read, listen and meet the experts in our field.
We’re thankful for the wisdom they pass on.
But we know nothing can replace what we sense and see in our actual context.
We’re practicing, every single day, listening to a deeper voice of wisdom
That shows us the next step, when we get quiet enough to listen.
We are here to help others fly. To be fully alive.
We see a spark in people that no one else might see.
We name it, call it out of hiding, stir up possibilities and point people toward God.
We build teams who trust each other, love their work and do things better than us.
We ask questions in places we assume we know the answers.
We resist the voice that tells us we should know all the answers.
We give away power to others we come to trust
And we give them permission to question us. We’re on the same team.
We don’t hold anything alone.
We’ll think we do. But we don’t.
Our communities want to hold the heavy things with us if we’ll let them.
Maybe it’s been heavy because we’ve been holding something
We were never meant to hold alone.
We say no to good ideas.
We say no to things not meant for us in this season.
We say no to obligations, control and unspoken expectations.
We say no to cynicism, isolation and triangulations.
We say yes to ideas that shimmer with the holy.
We say yes to celebration and curiosity.
We say yes to moving at a slower rhythm and pace.
We say yes to dreams so big we could never make them happen on our own.
We trust God in each other. We’re not bringing Spirit to anyone.
Love is already there. It’s not surprised to see us.
It’s glad to see we cooperated and showed up.
And Love knows if we don’t show up, someone else will.
We know it’s okay to not love everyone that needs loving.
We’re the body of Christ. We’re in this together.
Most of all, we are people who move through life with open palms.
We are surrendering our control over people and plans.
We are learning to let go of agendas and manipulation and fear.
We are leaders who are dancing in the truth that the pressure is off.
The rule book has been thrown out.
We know we’re not in charge anymore.
We’ve given our lives to listening to the One who will take us
Where we need to go.
And it turns out, it’s where we wanted to go the whole time.