By Roz Savage
I didn’t used to have any sense of my power to make a difference. None. For many years I was just a corporate drone, doing my thing, usually not very well. To the extent that I was interested in world affairs, it was as a bystander. If something needed fixing, “somebody” would surely fix it.
Then something changed. I found a purpose. For me, it was the environment. For you, it might be bullying, or drunk drivers, or LGBTQ rights, or something else that ignites your passion, or even your anger, you find you just have to do something.
I dedicated seven years of my life to rowing alone across oceans, using my adventures to raise awareness of our environmental issues.
My eco-passion was so great that – even though I’m scared of water, and I’m none too keen on physical exercise – I dedicated seven years of my life to rowing alone across oceans, using my adventures to raise awareness of our environmental issues. My purpose unlocked my courage, and enabled me to do things I never knew I could do.
Both on and off the ocean, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what the world needs if we’re to have a sustainable and peaceful future, and my view is that women are crucial. For all the progress we’ve made towards equality, most positions of power are still held by men. They (and some phenomenal women) have brought us a very long way in terms of innovation, technology, medicine, and scientific discovery. But what has got us here is not going to get us there.
Our world is now so complex, as are its challenges, that our leaders need a new skill set. We need cooperation rather than competition, partnership rather than domination, long term planning rather than short term gains, nurturing rather than neglect. We need being as well as doing, inner work as well as outer impact.
In other words, we need the things that typically women are good at. (To be clear, I’m not for a moment disrespecting men. Women do not have a monopoly on feminine skill sets. We all have the capability to be balanced leaders.)
Maybe, like I used to, you think you don’t have what it takes to be a leader. But I realise I used to picture “leaders” as male, usually white, usually older, usually arrogant. That’s why I thought I didn’t fit the mould. Our new leaders need to be cast from a very different mould.
Look in the mirror. That’s the kind of leader we need.
Roz Savage and Carla Esteves will be leading the course Heart to Hands: Feminine Courage and Leadership at Embercombe in June this year. See here for details.