Leadership, chiggers, and COVID (oh my!)

Photo of words saying "you are magic" on a speckled black-and-white backgroundYes, that headline is a tad weird. Stay with me here.

First, “leadership” should be a verb, not a noun, no matter what the dictionaries say.

Leadership is an action. It’s something we can choose to do, moment to moment.

It’s how we show up in those moments. It’s not complicated, but it can take courage because it often feels vulnerable.

And it’s emphatically not contained within a specific role or title. Anyone who’s had – or encountered – a toddler knows the many ways a small child can be a leader!

I’ve heard, “But I’m not a leader!” (and its variants) more times than I can count. May I bluntly say, bullpuckey. As I wrote here, yes, you are a leader – and not in the platitudinous sense of “Oh, but of course we’re all leaders.” (Yes, friends, platitudinous is a word!)

Leadership doesn’t require big action. It just requires your awareness from moment to moment.

The smallest things matter. You’ve probably heard the Dalai Lama’s quote, “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”

I’d add: try avoiding chiggers … or the coronavirus.

You can’t see chiggers; they’re tiny little mites, the larval form of “red bugs” – an arachnid. Despite their invisible size, they can travel from your ankles to your waist in 15 minutes. And their bites itch like a thousand mosquito bites rolled into one. Ask me how I know…

Likewise, we can’t see the SARS-COV2 virus – we can’t even tell if the person next to us is infected.

Obviously none of these very small things – mosqitoes, chiggers, or the COVID virus – are themselves leaders.

But they sure do cause us to change. They cause us to do things differently – sometimes very very differently.

So don’t tell me that anything you might do is too small to matter.

It matters.

And all you need to do is be a little more aware of the impact you have on people. Sometimes the smallest action – such as a smile for someone you might never see again – means more than you can imagine.

Leadership is (or should be) a verb. Leadership is something we can choose do DO - it's how we show up. Even very small things can have a very big impact (as we've seen all too clearly in the last 16 months!).Click To Tweet

As the image above says – you are – or can be – magic for someone through your attention and your small acts of individual leadership.


What small ways have you been a leader? And what small leadership actions have others taken that mattered to you? I’d sincerely love to hear about it. Drop me a note here.


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