Service and Leadership Currency

What calls people to serve? Is it civic duty? Avoidance of something else? Perhaps a pull to spirituality? Research on community and empathy research suggests that we are wired for community, to belong. I believe there is a connection to serve the larger whole and each other. Chimpanzees and other primates spend the whole day grooming each other. Does that suggest service is innate to our animal selves?

Typical ways to serve are be a member on a nonprofit board, work at a food bank or clean up the environment. All great endeavors. I’m on a search for other kinds of service. How can I serve? Whom shall I serve?

True service is to be yourself, while in service to the common good. What comes natural for me is to encourage others to find wellbeing of body, heart-mind and spirit. TI facilitate the best and healthiest self to shine.

We have the opportunity to serve each other by our brilliance, our shine. Our first service is our most positive self. This self radiates from within to without. When we stay responsible and accountable for our thoughts and feelings, we serve the whole. Unencumbered by blame, those around you are able to own what’s theirs.
We inspire by who we are.

This was in a Ezine from Jane Govoni at

“There is a wonderful story about a man that was very aware of the world he wanted to create, a place of beauty as he knew it. His name is Verdran Smallowic a cellist with the Sarajevo opera, in 1992 there was a war in Sarajevo, Verdran’s home. There always seems there is a war in someone’s home, seems to be people who believe the way to peace is through destruction and power. On May 27th 1992, this particular war dropped a mortar shell in the middle of a line of ordinary people who were waiting at a bakery as it was baking and distributing bread. It was 4pm and I imagine they had hungry children waiting for that bread at home, the shell landed in the middle of the line and killed 22 people.
Vedron Smailovic was waiting for the destruction to end so he could return to bring joy and beauty by playing his cello. He saw the horror outside his window, the sad picture of death and destruction had pushed this man to his breaking point. This bubble of sadness burst and this 35 year old man, with a big mustache and long wild hair chose to live courageously on purpose doing what he knew to combat ugliness with beauty, darkness with light. He could do what he did best-play music. For the next 22 days at 4pm Smalovic would dress formally as if he was going to work at the opera. He walked into the destruction where the bakery had been and set up his plastic chair next to a crater and played the cello. All around him you could see burned trucks, bombed buildings, you could smell the fear from the people who were hiding in cellars from guns and bombs, doing their best to protect their families. Among everything sad as you looked around, you could hear the haunting sound of Verdran’s cello.

Vedron Smailovic made a stand for beauty, compassion, dignity and peace,  every night he played as the shelling continued but he was never hurt “

This is service to the whole, service from your heart. FInd a way to serve humanity with your gifts. Give some of it away. You’ll discover leadership currency.

The Underlying Current

One of the many synchronicities that has occurred in my journey with Leilani, has been that we are both learning and writing about the lives of our fathers.  They were different men, with very different expressions of their essence on the earth.  And yet from each, I believe, we have received an understanding of the underlying current that they brought into the world and that allowed them to live into their life’s mission and vocation.

My own father was a navigator on a B-17 during World War II.  It was a time that impacted him deeply and yet one he would only speak about in the last years of his life.    Often the deepest flowing waters are those which rarely rise to the surface, and yet are somehow able to nourish and form the core of our souls.  Over half of the men who flew in the missions never made it back home to their families before death struck them down.   For my father, it was a web of connections, a constant flow of interrelatedness that kept him alive.  He was constantly aware of a deeper force flowing between him and his beloved mountains in Colorado and a vibrant connection to a Source greater than and yet a part of himself.  This connection was reinforced in a powerful set of letters between him and my grandmother, an unbroken remembering and focus on the deep-routed reality that was within him and all life.  By tapping into that energy he was, I believe, able to find hope, meaning, purpose and strength in the shadows.

It is a currency that flows within each of us and one that guides us, often without our awareness.  If we are intentional about seeking it, and connecting to it and through it, we are able to live into the fullness of our experience and provide the needed leadership into which we are all uniquely called.

Leadership Currency from My Ancestors

I feel the pulse, the quickening that Agnes DeMille talked about in her much quoted letter to choreographer, Martha Graham.  The pulse is from my ancestors.  I recently found out that on my father’s side of the family, I’m probably related to one of President Andrew Jackson’s best friends and colleagues, Richard Keith Call, 3rd and 5th territorial Governor of Florida.  Also on my father’s side, there’s a story of an African Prince, who singlehandedly fought for his tribe and won.  For awhile, this put off what was the eventual capture of the Prince and his people.  Once in America, his foot was chopped off and he was chained, so he would stay on the plantation.  My relative, the Prince, would not submit to being enslaved.

During this period, I found out that our DNA  in addition to being 75% African, we are  21% British, 3% Italian/Greek/Spanish and 1% Caucasus.  I also saw 12 Years a Slave.


This leaves me wondering, what is the currency that keeps people alive?  What lifts up the human spirit?  What is the power that leaders find during times of crisis?

These are reoccurring questions of which many Ph.Ds have been written.  We call this Leadership Currency, the electric force within that is a quickening.  An imperceptible force we can tap into for strength, courage and creativity. This currency is passed on between generations.  I feel the pulse of my ancestors in my veins.  I also believe that we can all feel it. We can develop it in organizations and we pass it on to people, in which we work.

What if we hold the assumption that this currency has our best interest at heart?  What if it’s there for the common denominator of our collective well being?  It feels like a benevolence that’s been passed throughout history, something that keeps us questioning, searching and being humble.

I honor the leadership currency in myself and in you.