"In Let Your Life Speak (Jossey-Bass, 1999), Parker J. Palmer writes of five "shadows" in leaders' lives. These deep, unconscious beliefs cause harm to the leader and harm to other people. I retitle the shadows this way:
1. I am what I do.
2. This is a war — I must fight and win.
3. It all depends on me.
4. If we manage everything perfectly, we won't have to deal with chaos and pain.
5. Nothing can fail or die on my watch.
I know that we all read e-mail quickly, but in these final few days of spiritual preparation before Easter, I encourage you to pause for a moment. Before you read on, ask yourself, and answer honestly, "Which of these shadows, if any, have I lived and believed?"
A few months ago I asked myself that question. I soon saw that without realizing it, at work I often act as if Shadow Number 3 were true: "It all depends on me." This comically irrational, but somehow compelling, belief causes me to give unsolicited advice to others. As I confessed to a friend over lunch, "I have ...1
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