Can Everyone Be a Leader?

Lifetree News
Creating Prosperity With Harmony
Alice G. Vlietstra, Ph.D.

In This Issue: Can everyone be a leader?

1. Welcome
2. Discover Your Hidden Strengths
3. Discover Your Relationship Strengths
4. Deep Change Comes From You and Me
5. Upcoming Teleconference:  Celebrating The Family Meal

1.  Welcome

As we watch the news on the elections, it becomes clear.  The issues are complex.  No one approach has all the answers.  Often we look to leadership outside of ourselves to solve our problems.  There is no question that outside expertise is important.   Still, there is another kind of leadership, the kind that exists within you and me.  This kind of leadership may have more power than you think.

Within your contacts every day, someone could be watching you, closely observing your words and actions.  Someone could be inspired by what you say and do.  When you are aware of that influence and use it wisely, you are being a leader. 

So often we see a leader as someone who has authority and control. Actually, leadership may have more to do with our self knowledge and personal integrity than getting others to agree.  Knowing yourself and maintaining your values while staying connected to others is fundamental to our personal health and success at home and at work.  This, I believe, is true leadership.  Here are three tips for exploring its power.

2. Discover Your Hidden Strengths

Each of us has our own unique strengths, challenges to overcome, and gifts to give. Finding your strengths helps you to accept yourself and define your contribution.   Becoming clear about yourself gives you the ability to stand for what you believe even when others are pressuring you.  When you remain calm in the midst of upsetting situations, taking full responsibility for your own emotional well being, you can be an “I” while connected to a “We.”   Being aware of this influence is leadership.

It is especially important to know your character strengths.  Your character brings out your higher aspirations and your enthusiasm in serving others.  You do not need external validation and approval.  Your example is an inspiration to others because it supports life.  To find out more on your character strengths, check out the July Newsletter (

As we look at ourselves, all to often we find ourselves connecting with an outside ideal, or putting ourselves down because of our limitations.  These negative judgments reflect outdated patterns.  As human beings we all basically want to love and be loved, to be free, and to connect.   When challenges surface, it gives us an opportunity to question these patterns and transform them.  When we do so, we gain greater integrity, leading from our higher self.      

3. Discover Your Relationship Strengths

Much of what we learn about ourselves comes from our relationships with others.  As we discover strengths within ourselves we also see the strengths of others. Our mindset begins to shift towards working for higher ideals.  We begin to respect and listen to others as teachers rather than feel the need to covert them to our views.  Interactions begin to move toward differentiation rather than top down leadership.  In these kinds of situations, everyone can take a leadership role according to their strengths and the requirements of the situation. 

As power and leadership is shared, new solutions emerge.  Synergy develops, and the whole becomes far more than the sum of the parts. Working together creatively, multiple minds have capabilities inherently greater than a single mind.  It builds our resilience. 

4. Deep Change Comes from You and Me

While we often look to our leaders for change, it is difficult for deep change to come from the top.  Our leaders are often too deeply established in existing institutions to bring about the kind of deep change that is needed.  Big shifts are more likely to come from people like you and me, ordinary people, free from entrenched interests. 

Recognizing this power gives us an opportunity to see problems as they are, find new solutions, and bring them into being.  Many changes are happening in communities throughout the country and around the globe. Watch for the initiatives in your community.  The work you do makes a difference.  

A good example is the increased interest in healthy eating.  Over the last decade, more and more people are choosing to buy food locally. Gardens and farms are increasing in urban areas and the number of farmers markets have doubled. In addition to providing fresh, healthy food, this helps to build the community and boost the local economy.   The result is an environmental and social movement that is transforming our national food system.  

5. Teleconference: Celebrating the Family Meal

In the United States, the fall harvest brings thoughts celebrating a festive Thanksgiving meal.  Beyond a holiday blowout, what about regular family meals?  Family meals have a magic of their own.  They ground us, even on nights when food is fast and we have some other place we would rather be.  When the mood is right and the family lingers on with an idea, or even an argument, we get a glimpse of its power.  It empowers us and protects us from all kinds of harm. 

Research shows the more often families eat together, the more likely kids are to do well in school, delay sexual activity, learn big words, and eat their vegetables.  They are less likely they are to do drugs, smoke, drink, get depressed, or consider suicide.

Do you have regular family meals?  All too frequently family meals get lost with the challenges of too many activities, piles of stuff on the table, distractions from the TV, and kids who complain about the food.  Come join us to learn the benefits of the family meal and what you can do.

Three of us will be sharing.  Samantha Shields, a home energy specialist will be giving us her insights on creating the time and space.  I will be giving you tips for gaining cooperation and building positive relating. Dr. Jane, a cultural anthropologist, will help us reflect on family meals and the larger community.

You matter
• When you love the work you do and the people you do it with, you matter.
• When you are so gracious and generous and aware that you think of other people before yourself, you matter.
• When you leave the world a better place than you found it, you matter.
• When you continue to raise the bar on what you do and how you do it, you matter.
• When you teach and forgive and teach more before you rush to judge and demean, you matter.
• When you touch the people in your life through your actions (and your words), you matter.
• When kids grow up wanting to be you, you matter.
• When you see the world as it is, but insist on making it more like it could be, you matter.
• When you inspire a Nobel Prize winner or a slum dweller, you matter.
• When the room brightens when you walk in, you matter.
• And when the legacy you leave behind lasts for hours, days or a lifetime, you matter.
Seth Godin
Warm Regards,

Dr. Alice


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Lifetree News