Thoughts on Leadership
For a good portion of my life, I’ve had an ambition to be a leader. That is not to claim that I’m necessarily gifted at being a leader, just that I have a natural desire to lead rather than follow, and that my desire to lead has been affirmed by those around me since I was a child.
In the past few years, since graduating college and beginning to form my career, my leadership ambition has focused on wanting to be a great web developer. I’ve been incredibly inspired by people such as Chris Coyier, Eric Meyer, Lea Verou and Paul Irish. I’ve paid attention to their leadership styles and spent a lot of time reflecting on how I can emulate their success while bringing my own originality into my career.
I’ve thought about teaching, speaking, writing plugins, and blogging. I’ve thought about all the ways I’d like to inspire others to build great things on the web. And I’ve acted on none of them. Instead, in less than two weeks, I’ll find myself on a plane, bound for the mountain town of Jarabacoa in the Dominican Republic. I am so excited for what I’ll be doing at Doulos, but the opportunity cost of this decision, is that I won’t likely be emulating the careers of any of the web folks who have inspired me over the past few years.
This morning I was reading a book that my stepmother gave me about leadership, Humilitas – A Lost Key to Life, Love and Leadership, contemplating my role at Doulos, and reflecting on my recent ambition to be a leader in the web world. I was struggling to find a connection between my career ambitions and the career path that lies ahead of me. But I also read a letter this morning that was written by a greek leader the Christian Church in the first century A.D. to his followers.
He reminded his followers that his purpose as a leader was “to preach the Gospel, not in cleverness of speech” lest Christ’s sacrifice be made void. And I was reminded, as I leave behind the career path that I’ve spent so much time pondering and seek an unconventional opportunity, that the purpose of my career is not to lead people to cleverness of web development, as I so often desire, but to lead people to Christ.