Sunday, November 13, 2011


Im tirtzu ayn zo agadah...
If you will it, it is no dream...

Theodore Herzl

The keynote speech launching the conference today was given by Larry Moses, senior philanthropic advisor and president emeritus to the Wexner Foundation. One concept he shared during his talk really struck me. He talked about the 'impostor syndrome'. It's the feeling you get when you are acting as a leader or an expert and suddenly your internal monologue begins to doubt your legitimacy. Who am I to be saying these things? To be leading these people?

When you start hearing that little whisper of doubt, it is a valuable opportunity for honest self-reflection. It can be a chance to take a step back and think critically about your words and actions in the context of the world and other leaders in your realm. A reminder to be humble while you work. Though, know that every leader has this companion, this doubt and uncertainty. Even if the voice of the 'impostor syndrome' is loud in your ear, you must persevere. Wear the costume until it becomes your clothing.

The High Priest’s Garments

The High Priest’s garments, a robe of purest blue, Golden bells along the hem,
Graven lapis with the symbols of the tribes,
How pure the priest
How fine.
A fringed tunic of purest linen, The finest yarns of many colors, Twisted gold chains,
A frontlet to say “Holy the LORD” How righteous the priest
How good.
But cannot a garment hide the truth?
Cannot a fine covering hide a rotten core?
Are there not masks that people wear that conceal what is real?
Is this not the preparation for hypocrisy?
This cannot be the lesson we are to learn, To look good
To look splendid
To appear righteous and magnificent Merely as a seeming,
An image
An idol of an unattainable ideal,
Or worse,
A mask to hide behind while one fulfills whatever one’s desire may be.
Rather say that the garments of the High priest are a sign. A sign to the High Priest of who and what he is.
At each step, the bells ring.
He feels the weight of his heavy robes
His headdress
And feels
The heavy weight of his responsibility
His charge.
He will strive to live up to his appearance.
He will seek to be truly Holy to the LORD
He will struggle to be what he looks to be.
And so let it be with me. Let me wear my costume,
Fix on me my mask.
Drape me in the cloth of kindness
Place a robe of righteousness over my shoulders
Let jewels of charity hang around my neck and dangle from my ears.

Oh! May I dazzle the world with the brightness of my charade of goodness!
But only if the seeming becomes reality.
Only if the part I play is played even when I leave the stage.
Creator of Light,
Help me perfect my act of goodness, Make my mask of kindness seamless So that,
In the end,
That is all there is.

Seth F. Oppenheimer
February 17, 2005

Questions of the day:
What costumes do you wear?
Who gives leaders the power to lead?

No comments:

Post a Comment