Background: In the fall of 2009 I finalized my Gates Millennium application, after years of preparation, writing and enlisting support for the task at hand I submitted 8 essays. These eight papers, were responses to prompts I no longer remember. Still after nearly 15 years, I’ve found myself turning back to the Gates, my essays, the people who loved me then; I’ve found myself relearning who I want(ed) to be.
I close my eyes a lot. To make things feel quieter, to avoid seeing something, but most often I close my eyes to see. I breathe and close my eyes, and in the infinite black, I great speck of my greatness. Consolations, mental sparks of my life, the granular specks of my-joy. I find joy to be most organic in spots when I’m asked to lead. Something I grappled with then and continue to now, is why.
In reading this next essay, I’m struck by my resolve to lead, and it warms my spirit to be reminded of my father’s strength, his wisdom, and how he nurtured my-joy. Leadership, as I see it is an act of service, and in that service there must be a joy-dialectic, a tethering, often a bio-psychic connection between idea, vision and execution. The way leadership inspires actions and values create opportunities for logistics that “do” something. Practices that recenter a team on their mission or gives a father the strength to love his son in spite of all the bumps in the road, the not so sunny days of entrepreneurialism. To live in a home, made, and remade in the image of a unit determined to succeed, know their role and execute. It’s unique to see team success without leadership that can not stand the rain, and create joy. It’s uniquely my story to find my-joy in my service, in leading through courage, compromise, and understanding.