Reconnecting with our early intention

I remember when I was a child that I never understood why people went to war. I never asked and never talked about it, but to me there was no sense in it. When I grew up in the divided city of Berlin, I began to day-dream about speaking to people about reconciling and making peace. This is what I call my early intention: without anybody telling me I felt that something needed to be changed in the world.

When you find yourself in a state of questioning your leadership contribution, I believe it is worth looking at the early part of your journey.

Your memory might be scattered or faint. It might take time to remember anything at all. But I am sure there were secret daydreams, fairy encounters, heroes you admired, books you were fascinated by, a painful experience that triggered a quest, a silent promise to yourself, dreams of discovery, visions of being a saviour, empathy with suffering, an identification with heroes who represent deeper human values.


Image by Petra Kuenkel

No two leadership stories are the same. So don’t expect grand visions. Look for the value beneath your memories, the emotionally charged insights. Take your time to unearth the ordinary details. Consider these questions:

  • Can you remember a daydream or thoughts you had when you were young that had anything to do with wanting to change the world?
  • Was there any person or figure from a book or a movie with whom you identified? Why? What qualities did this person or figure have?
  • When you were a teenager, was there anything that fascinated you a great deal, or something you were searching for, a quest you felt you needed to be on, or something you wanted know or be or become?

Collect the scraps of memory patiently. Gradually begin to listen to your leadership journey, as if there was a connection to a great underlying tune that is constantly playing yet so difficult for us to hear.

This blog post illustrates the dimension HUMANITY and WHOLENESS at the individual level of the Collective Leadership Compass. For more information on the Art of Leading Collectively, checkout the inside the book and  reviews on, or get inspired by an on site course that takes the compass into the daily challenges of navigating complex change.

Categories: Accessing our humanity and Allgemein.

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