It struck me last week that leadership is a beautiful thing. It is not just something that we do or that is thrust upon us. Its the act of caring so much about something you are doing that you are willing to lead others in the way you do it. And in addition to showing others how you do this thing, you encourage them to find their own way within it.
And that’s the beautiful thing about leadership and those who take on the potential it holds. When they have a vision and understanding of the greater movement and work to pull it together. I have first hand seen what this kind of leadership can do. They way it can take hold of a group of people and form them from strangers to friends, creating ties that resemble family, and helping people find new meaning within their own stories.
This type of leadership is better known as servant leadership. Getting on the same level of those they lead, a leader takes the time to get to know their followers, teaching them how to lead, always willing to step off of the podium to allow others to test their skills, and consistently seeking to serve those among them, even when their followers do not realize it. It’s not leading with a sense of fear that someone else is going to replace you, its leading with the hope that one day you will not be needed as the leader. To do your job so well that others rise up among you and step forward to the challenge of wanting to change the tides. It’s in the simple acts that this type of leader understands the power of leadership and its meaning that expands far beyond themselves.
I have had the privilege of witnessing this type of leadership in a few people. And every time I see it, I am always in awe of how I can replicate it in my own life. How do I serve those who I lead and encourage them to continue to grow to a point where my leadership is no longer needed? How to I make an impact in the lives of everyone I come into contact with without being overbearing about it? And how do I love everyone I meet, regardless of circumstances? How do I show compassion, grace, and encouragement in just one sentence? These are the questions I continue to ask myself every time I meet someone who is a servant leader. And these leaders continue to help shift and change my life, without even knowing it.
My current search in how to properly thank someone who has helped me grow as a leader? How do I help them know just how much of an impact they have had on my life, among many other lives? And as they reach the final day of their impactful leadership, how do we as followers truly send them off? I guess I will tell you after tomorrow, when this fateful day arrives.
I know that when I wake up tomorrow, the day will already feel heavy. That driving into Gasworks will hold a different meaning, and the bounce on top of kite hill may be filled with a few tears. It’s not every day that you hold a retirement party for the founder and co-leader of November Project Seattle. It’s not everyday that you realize exactly what this one person did for a city through their acts of servant leadership. And it’s not everyday that you send them off in style. But it is a common occurrence that we celebrate those among us who have helped shape this movement, both leaders and followers.
So here is a toast to you, Casey. Thank you for taking a chance on this movement and bringing it to Seattle. For getting to know everyone who dared to #justshowup and encouraging each of us on our own journey. You have been a cheerleader, ringleader, instigator, change maker, and Seattle-freeze halter in a community that so desperately needed it. You have helped bring up other budding leaders and shown them how to grow where they are planted. Your loud voice at the top of the hill will not be forgotten, nor your enthusiasm over burpees. Granted, we will still see you on Wednesday, but if you miss a workout here or there, you won’t be subjected to the torture of “We Miss You” like that fateful day last Spring that we all refer to as Where is Casey? (Just over a year ago, mind you!).
Thank you for helping me find a community. For encouraging me in my journey and always asking how I am doing. You have helped change my life in an impactful way. May your retirement be filled with a few warm vacation days, trips around the city, and grand adventures. You will always have this community to lean on, regardless of where you are in the world. And we hope you will continue to #justshowup and spend early mornings with us.
Until next time
-Be Fearless, Go Boldly