I had the welcome opportunity to meet a couple of friends and former colleagues for dinner this evening. Welcome because, as usual, life has been a zoo and the chance to spend some quality time with other like women over penne and chardonnay was long overdue.
As we shared the ups and downs of day to day living, we got into an interesting discussion about women as "the reluctant leaders." Meaning that many of us not only want to provide vision and help change the world, but we want to get into the trenches, roll up our sleeves, and make the change happen on the front lines.
In the world we live in, often we're categorized in one camp or the other -- I think the common terminology is leader or follower -- and to be a blend of both is not often easily accepted as a norm. Instead, we find ourselves taking on more and more because we provide the leadership AND get results. It makes us feel good. But then it sucks us dry. And we can't seem to find the healthy balance between the two -- our need to exceed our own expectations AND the necessity to stay clean and out of the mud.
Perhaps it's reaching my forties that has me philosophically pondering such things. Maybe it's reaching the level of experience on a resume that implies that I've seen it all and done a lion's share of what there is to do. I admit, I still sweat the small stuff but the perspiration stains aren't quite as permanent as they once were.
Maybe I am a reluctant leader. Or maybe I'm just a lot pickier about the priorities in my life, the values I covet, and my self-directed focus on personal needs. Or maybe tonight I was just lucky enough to get that rare opportunity to solve the world's problems with a couple of smart women over delicious pasta and wine.