Like pioneers circling their wagons preparing against an Indian attack, my thoughts gathered round until, once in formation, the idea for this post was born. I only tell you this so that you understand…there is no let-up whatsoever for my weary brain. It’s working, nearly 24/7.
I’m not a builder of empires. Perhaps being the youngest of 9, there was no one whom I could lead. Remember, practice makes perfect. Obviously I wasn’t able to practice…at home.
Here and there, I did get to be a leader among friends and classmates. Being the youngest sibling, I had an uphill struggle. I wasn’t use to being at the front of the pack. When I was, I found it nice…yet somehow uncomfortable. Head alpha was not the skin into which I’d been born. Getting it to fit involved a lot of talking…to myself.
I’ve not changed, even as an adult. I’ve a lot of great ideas…with an overworked brain like mine…I’ve no choice. But when I have the opportunity to get up on the box to expound about this, that and the other, I like to have others standing up there with me. Call it comfort, call it insane, call it whatever you like. I’ve never, ever enjoyed having the spotlight…all to myself.
Those who know me well can confirm that I will tout the virtues of my husband and daughter until the earth implodes…before I ever talk about my own. I couldn’t even tell you what my own virtues might be. I’ve never taken the time to think along those lines. I say that because I’ve never felt confident enough. Still don’t. Remember I’m Catholic-educated, having been taught to renounce false pride. And I had a mom who had her hands full to overflowing…without having to include boosting my ego to her “to do” list.
Baby-boomers understand. We knew to just get out there, suck it up, and do what we needed to do…to survive. Street smarts meant picking up whatever we needed, however we could, from whatever resources we found. Along with that, however, comes a lot of bad information…which, unfortunately, sticks…as friend and fellow blogger, jeanne, http://nolagirlatheart.wordpress.com mentioned in a comment recently.
My own bad info led to my discomfort at being in charge of more than 1 or 2 people. I know I would’ve been a compassionate leader. I’ve had many an opportunity to manage in my career path but always failed to go the distance, because I felt insecure with power…and found it difficult to dictate to others.
Instead I have delighted in managing my family of 3…with me at the helm in many ways…enabling my husband and daughter to be the natural-born leaders they were meant to be. And they do amazing jobs. Their bosses, peers and subordinates will testify to that.
While I may not relish physically sitting in a position of authority, I’m equally resistant to being led down a path I do not choose for myself. Very resistant. My mom was the last person to whom I ever relinquished the control panel…and I fought tooth and nail before I gave in. She was my mom, after all. And remember, I’m a Catholic. The fourth Commandment says “Honor thy father and thy mother.” I had a hard time getting around that one.
When my mom passed, I slowly began to find my own voice. I refused to succumb to any one’s demands anymore. It didn’t come easily. I spent many, many, many years arguing with myself. Still do on occasion. But my husband and daughter are my sounding boards, giving me the courage to believe in my own thoughts and perceptions and decisions.
There are those who are proficient as “little emperors.” Napoleon was one; Hitler another. I’m sure there were others not as bombastic as these, who may even have done a world of good. I think Alexander the Great might have been one. I’d have to ask my husband; he watches the History Channel 24/7…except if there’s a football game he’s interested in seeing.
Amongst us peons, I’ve observed that there are those who engage in empire building. I don’t think they’re aware they’re doing it, it’s just that they’re born to lead and don’t mind doing so. They’ve strong personalities; they may not have a bottomless reservoir of patience; and they probably prefer getting things done, rather than waiting around for others. What makes them successful, is their unwavering self confidence. They know, without a doubt, that they’re right for the job. They don’t need to be convinced and they’re more than willing to lead others. More power to them. If they are compassionate leaders…I’ve no complaints.
I can’t build empires; I’ve not the stomach nor the stamina for it. In my own little queendom (new word?)…I rule with a lot of hugs and kisses…and tears. My daughter swears my tear ducts are directly tied to my heartstrings. Guess I’m a…
…mushy dictator………hugmamma. 😉
I feel your pain hugmamma, as I was Catholic-educated too. But, you and I can get over it. I know we can. We can be good Christian people and still have self-confidence.
If your husband watches the History Channel 24/7, then he’s been seeing a lot of programs about Nostradamus. The following is a quote from the History Channel Website, “Some believe Nostradamus predicted the first two Antichrists — Napoleon and Hitler.”
In other words, Napoleon and Hitler were bad leaders.
I agree with Brudd: “A good leader cares for those whom he/she leads and accomplishes the mission. A good leader credits his people not him/her self. A good leader respects those who lead him and challenges (respectfully) those he does not respect. A good leader thanks his Creator for his blessings.”
You are a good leader hugmamma. You lead by example.
My brother “Brudd” and I thank you. I’m sure he’ll be grateful for the mention. He’s an even more passionate orator than me. And I’m always grateful for your generous words of support.
Sometimes I question my sharing so much of my life…myself. But I find it as helpful as if I’d been to see a therapist…without the financial burden…which would add to my stress. With my husband going into retirement, I wouldn’t want to start something I couldn’t afford to continue.
Thank you for letting me know that my sharing is helpful…that what I experience is yours as well…and that we’re not as alone as we might think… 😉
There is a downside to having a fiefdom: responsibility. Once as a radio news director, I had to tell two hard-working, creative, talented staffers that they would no longer have a job because of budget cuts. That hurt. I wound up quitting, taking a part-time job at another radio station, because I just didn’t want that kind of responsibility. One of my staffers got to stay on board and got my old job. I’m glad that worked out well for both of us.
Wow! You make me feel great. I’ve always felt alone in not being able to live up to the demands of supervising others. I thought I should be able to do it because I knew I was a leader. But when “push came to shove,” my stomach was always in knots…so I moved on. My first big opportunity was as a department manager for an upscale department store in Honolulu, Hawaii. Liberty House was the Bloomingdale’s of the islands. But at 21 I had to manage several women older than myself, and one about my age who, as assistant manager, had been in line to assume the role of manager when the position became vacant. The powers that be chose me instead because I had a college degree, and had worked at another branch during college. A superior recommendation from my boss who was highly regarded within the company…got me the job. I don’t know if I even lasted a year. I was so young, insecure…and newly married. Spending days and nights at the job left little time or energy to enjoy being a new bride. I chose marriage…and have never regretted my decision…although “what ifs?” continue to plague…
hugs…for letting me know…i’m not alone… 😉
From the sounds of it, you made the best choice for you as well. Life is a balancing act. Just don’t get hit by one of the balls you’re balancing/juggling. Enjoyed your reflection. ‘-)
I have been…hit by a juggling ball. But that’s the risk I take…trying to do many things. As I’ve aged, however, I’ve made sure the balls I juggle…are important ones. I’ve let the lesser ones drop. No more stressing over those, although it’s still a struggle sometimes to relegate some balls to the trash heap. But it’s imminent…for my well-being, and of those I love…and who love me. 😉
Lovely post. The youngest of nine…that is hard for me to imagine. I was the youngest of two so I really can’t compare. There are all types of leaders, the good ones inspire and it seems that your family thrives from your leadership.
You’re a dear to say so, but I think my family’d agree. At least I hope so…I’d better ask…before I go on dictating…I mean, leading… 😉
thanks for your hint to Charlie Chaplin and his famous movie!
Love, love, love those oldies but goodies! Give me old Hollywood any day… 🙂
Nah, you don’t have what it takes to be an empire builder. You think too much. In order to build your empire, you must react. You must be clear in your mind what your empire (real or imagined) will be like and proceed. The words ‘can’t’, ‘don’t’, and ‘awww. . ‘ does not exist in your vocabulary. You don’t ask questions such as ” . . .what do you think, dear?’ That’s why history’s dictators (and those of the future) never last more than a few hundred years. Once their goal is achieved, they picture themselves as great thinkers. Thinking made them look into their souls AND, they start questioning the very reason they dreamed of empire building. AND, they had wives.
When I was young I dreamed of what it would be like to be a dictator. But, I decided to go to the Army’s Officers’ Candidate
School and they killed those dreams so fast and made me a leader. Big, big difference. A good leader cares for those whom he/she leads and accomplishes the mission. A good leader credits his people not him/her self. A good leader respects those who lead him and challenges (respectfully) those those he does not respect. A good leader thanks his Creator for his blessings. A leader’s cry is “Follow me!” not “Charge!”
Whew, talk about bloviating . . . .aloha, sis
Bloviating? Is that your own word…or Webster’s? Impressive!
So are you saying empire builders can’t be good leaders? Or that good leaders aren’t empire builders? Wasn’t Alexander the Great both? I’m no historian, but I thought he was.
you always make me think…even though i already think…too much… 😉