Carrie asks: How do you develop confidence to start putting yourself “out there” as a leader? Sometimes I feel wise and semi-enlightened, and other times I feel like a mess. I don’t want to be a hypocrite, and I don’t want to be built up as a “guru.”
A: The old adage applies – “We teach what we need to learn.” All of us are works in progress, especially teachers. That’s why the best teachers aspire to transparency, telling stories about their own foibles, triggers and vulnerabilities in order not just to instruct but also to remind everyone that we really all are the same. Plus, in this way the message always gets across in the warmest, most beneficial way.
No one who doesn’t want to be built up as a “guru” will be. If you find that happening, the all-important question is, “What am I doing to promote this?”
From a perspective beyond awakening, it’s clear that a teacher plays his or her role in the great Oneness of all things, just as the student does the same. In this sense neither has something the other doesn’t, or is missing anything. And the roles can reverse in an instant. Understanding this leads to a natural, authentic humility.
Final thought: Why do you want to be a leader in the first place? If this desire comes from a deep, heartful call to serve, go for it. If it comes from anything else, or if the answer isn’t clear, it might make sense to let things cook a little longer.