Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Search for Authenticity

I am currently reading a lot of material on the search for the authentic self in leadership. But I remain convinced that the authentic/real self is "hidden" in Christ. We find our deepest ground of being in our relationship with our Creator.

Thomas Merton, who wrote volumes on this subject, gives some good insights:

"Every one is shadowed by an illusory person: a false self. This is the man that I want to be but who cannot exist, because God does not know anything about him. An to be unknown of God is altogether too much privacy."

Source: Merton, T (1962). New Seeds of Contemplation. New York: New Directions.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Turning Leadership Ego on its Head

Leadership often draws individuals with narcissistic and pride-filled attitudes. How do leaders cultivate humility? More than 1400 years ago St. Benedict of Nursia defined a progressive twelve steps of humility in his famous rule, that sets the tone for redemptive organizations and leadership humility. The twelve steps can be summarized in the following ways (Galbraith and Gailbraith, 2004:121-122):

  1. Revere the Simple Rules

  2. Reject your Personal Desires

  3. Obey Others

  4. Endure Affliction

  5. Confess Your Weaknesses

  6. Practice Contentment

  7. Learn Self Reproach

  8. Obey the Common Rule

  9. Understand that Silence is Golden

  10. Meditate on Humility

  11. Speak Simply

  12. Act Humbly In Appearance

"Brethren, the Holy Scripture cries to us saying: 'Every one that exalts himself shall be humbled; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted.' The first degree of humility, then, is that a man always have the fear of God before his eyes shunning all forgetfulness and that he be ever mindful of all that God hath commanded…". - St. Benedict of Nursia

Source: Galbraith, C. S. and Galbraith, O. (2004). “The Benedictine Rule of Leadership”. Avon: Avons Media.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Prayer 12 from the writings of St. Catherine of Sienna

In your nature,
eternal Godhead,
I shall come to know my nature.
And what is my nature, boundless love?
It is fire,
because you are nothing but a fire of love.
And you have given humankind
a share in this nature,
for by the fire of love
you created us.
And so with all other people
and every created thing;
you made them out of love.
O ungrateful people!
What nature has your God given you?
His very own nature!
Are you not ashamed to cut yourself off from such a noble thing
through the guilt of deadly sin?
O eternal Trinity,
my sweet love!
You, light,
give us light.
You, wisdom,
give us wisdom.
You, supreme strength,
strengthen us.
Today, eternal God,
let our cloud be dissipated
so that we may perfectly know and follow your Truth
in truth,
with a free and simple heart.
God, come to our assistance!
Lord, make haste to help us!

Taken from The Prayers of Catherine of Siena. 2nd edition. Suzanne Noffke, OP, translator and editor. (San Jose.: Authors Choice Press, 2001)