Conversations on the Scarcity of Confidence and the Nature of Leadership
Two leadership mentors having a conversation about what drives them to share, to teach, to lead.
Is what we’re doing leadership? What is leadership, anyway? Are leaders born, made, or magic? Is leadership all touchy-feely, is it power and authority, is it conscious or unconscious?
What makes ordinary, often timid or self-deprecating types, step across the threshold from comfort to risk and take it upon themselves to offer guidance to others? We offer some answers . . . and some questions.
I thought, hey, I’ll bet Shanna and I could get on the subject of being a catalyst, or the scarcity and value of confidence, or any of a number of subjects. Compile the brilliance, edit and publish. Real live book. (I’ve got 5 in the works; one more is only an increase in effort of 20%.)
And Shanna said
Oh, lawdy, could we ever riff off …. well, anything, really. Fun! I don’t know what you’re looking for in terms of commitment, but I always have more ideas than I can use, and very little inclination to put them into a coherent form. I’m kicking around a couple e-book drafts, but if I can have conversations instead of writing alone…well, it’s no contest, really.
Why is confidence so scarce, anyways? I feel like a freak sometimes, when people go on about how then just don’t know if they can survive whatever trial they’re experiencing, how they would do this or that, but they don’t know how, or, especially, this deep-seated conviction that they’ll never possess anything that isn’t sort of…dropped in their path. For me, the struggle is not whether I can achieve my goals, it’s whether they’re worth the effort. For everything you choose there are multitudes you reject. What do I really want?
About the Authors
Shanna Mann — When I tell people I wrote a book about leadership, they are always suitably impressed. But when they ask me to expand on the principles of leadership, I feel singulary unqualified to comment. Why? I am no leader of men, no CEO, I have no industry-standard certification that declares my fitness to lead.And yet, I am a rabble-rouser and an instigator. Far better, I think, than an MBA, I have had the privilege of completely transforming the way some people look at situations, at others, at life in general.
I have no credentials whatsoever, no authority, no traditional wisdom or experience. And so I lead by example, by force of personality, or by each individual deciding that I say things worth listening to. It’s an interesting, thrilling and hair-raising tightrope to walk, to simply be worthy of following. And yet it’s the most rewarding thing I could ever hope to accomplish.
I wrote this book almost as a dare. To declare myself a leader, without having an army at my back to demonstrate the fact? What arrogance! What audacity! And yet, Joel merely asked me, did I have an opinion? I certainly did. And it turns out I had more to share than I thought possible. But now it’s up to you to decide it what we said had value.
We aren’t leaders JUST because we are leaders. We are leaders because you choose to follow.
You can find more of my work at ShannaMann.com
Joel D Canfield — I’ve always thought I was a bit odd. As I bumble my way through life it seems folks agree. As a kid in the big woods of Wisconsin, life was more like your grandparents’ than like yours. We didn’t lock our doors. No television; usually no radio. Neighbors were a mile away through the woods. Entertainment was music, live, right in the living room. And reading; endless reading. I pestered my mom and older brother into helping me learn how when I was 3 or 4.
In the middle of 1st grade in the little 2-room school-house about 20 miles from where I’m writing this, they moved me ahead to 2nd grade. As a result I was generally the youngest, smallest kid in any class. I also thought being smart bought me something. Both right and wrong, that.
Before I could even read I realised that saying and doing what I truly thought didn’t always have good results. Whether it was weakness of spirit or the strength of the opposition, I spent the next 40 years being what the world expected instead of who I really am.
Eight years ago I married someone who loves me for that secret personality. She’s been coaxing it out ever since. She loves my music, which is no surprise since most of my songs are about her. She loves our nomad life, which is great, ’cause otherwise I’d miss her when I traveled. She thinks I’m the smartest person in the world, which is nice even when she’s wrong.