What Imperfections Have Made You the Leader You Are Today?

July 6, 2010 § Leave a comment

Have you seen the movie, “Whale Rider” or read the book “Plan B” by Anne Lamott? The book and movie do intersect to some degree, and both are fabulous.

While daydreaming during the children’s service at her church (love it!), Lamott wrote:

I thought mostly about the whales in Whale Rider. They’re covered with clusters of barnacles the size of platters, all that stuff that attaches itself to whales because of its need, not the whales’. It’s obviously god for the barnacles…it’s a better ride, and they’re bathed in nourishment, and I can’t see how it might benefit the whales.  I started thinking of my mother, as both whale and barnacle. In her last ten years, she lived on me. She couldn’t help it; she wanted to stay alive, and I was her ride. Looking around at the faces of the people in my church, I could see their barnacles, too…al the usual old failures and sorrows, all the loss and ruckus of life that they have survived, excreted through their skin. Yet in Whale Rider, the barnacles are what the girl held on to like a saddle horn as she rode the whale. Without them, she couldn’t have climbed on.”

Part of growing means to recognize the barnacles we have, things in our life that show we are not perfect, but yet through the power and beauty of grace, we are attached to those barnacles, they give us life, make us who we are and have contributed in some way, however painful, to the leader we are today.

What ‘barnacles’ do you need to embrace about yourself in order to be a better leader?


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