“The danger for the leader comes if you cannot truly love yourself. If you are at war with yourself then you will be unable to lead others with empathy & compassion. You may pretend—but you will always be found out.” — Alan Moore DO/ DESIGN
As I was flipping through Alan Moore’s very pleasant book “Do/ Design: Why Beauty is Key to Everything” last night, I settled on this passage, and found it to contain a brief observation that perhaps defines my last couple of years more aptly than most. The last year especially has been an exercise in coming to glaring terms with my inadequacies, both personally and professionally, and it is only recently that I have been able to begin to more objectively recognize the often self-imposed dissonances, conflicts of self-identity or labeling or striving, that have made it difficult not only to seek “Happiness,” but to even recognize that “Loving One’s Self” (i.e. Happiness) is a thing that is particularly valuable. Or, perhaps, a thing that even really exists (in contrast to Achievement, or Virtue, or Legacy, or Impact). It’s easy to forget that your strengths (especially when it comes to leadership) are solely defined by your relationships to people, especially in an inherently human discipline like design. Empathy, compassion, kindness, and helpfulness are all purely relational concepts, and the cultural core of not only a good “design practice” (as if that caveat is necessary), but of everything.
This is easy to forget, though. Your insufficiencies, in contrast, are easy enough to identify even in a void, especially if it's one of your own making.
I hope I’m getting better at remembering the right things.