Mapping Leadership Explorations


It all started when...

The first step is knowing where you're going. The leadership journey begins here. 


A11.4.2 - A New Location


Radical Empathy

Presenting a new location on my map - "radical empathy". This, represented as a confluence of ideal circumstances coming together to create an idyllic location - on my contextual map this is where all folks in the tribe feel included, understood, and totally utilized for the strengths and skills that are life-giving. This location is where resonance and empathy are at its highest - where the collective consciousness comes together for the betterment of all involved. And, in addition to this, this collective experience becomes something that attracts others with its reputation. 

A9.2 - Draft 1


Here is draft 1 of my map.


2 Dangerous Places

W6 | A6.1a

"Contextual location in a qualitative world."

Because my map is more of an abstract representation of travel, my two places to avoid are contextual locations based on lack of activity. 


A spot of zero growth, stagnation is a complete disconnect from the tribe as a whole by virtue of a lack of work that connects you. Simply put, stagnation is a state of being where nothing inspires, and everything is hard, and life giving support is far without your reach. 

This place of stagnation is a looming force in my life, because as a designer, artist, and idealist, I must forge meaning and ideas out of thin air. If I do not cultivate the source of my ideas - my sense of wonder - I start to stagnate.  At my best times, my brain is a great source of ideas and I consistently have the stamina to push forward great ideas into action. These things tell me that self care must come before any ideas or dogma from "Making Ideas Happen" to avoid stagnation.  



This is the spot every educating leader knows well, the space where your accomplishments and your challenges cease to align with the needs of the current generation. In this place, I might be avoiding stagnation by generating new work, but may not be relevant due to content, tools used, knowledge and innovation gained. Because a lot of my desires are to save the world, being incapable of offering help to future generations creates anxiety for me. 

From my perspective working in a variety of educational spheres, I've watched heads of departments get mired in their own ego and cease contributing to the larger context and goal of our particular tribe to inspire and equip students to carry on our legacy. The result is deep feelings of resentment across team dynamics, as well as a lack of openness to new ideas that challenge the incumbent professor's notions of well-being surrounding their field. 



2 Stops on the Way

W3 | A3.3


Esalen Institute

For half a century, the Esalen Insitute has been a primary thought leader and shapeshifter of the culture, generating and promoting new ideas, methods, and connections that have transformed our world. Celebrating the great move into the future, Esalen honor's humanity's rich legacy, celebrates initiatives and outreaches today, and embraces the common human future in an emergent world culture of tomorrow.

From their website:

"Esalen exists to serve the world — not as a refuge from it. We believe in the deeply transformative power of this place, recognizing that retreat and refuge must always be, ultimately, in the service of something larger than yourself. So we are organized to give you the tools to unleash latent capacities and re-energize your sense of purpose — for yourself and the world."

These days, as the retreat prepares to observe its 50th anniversary next month, people are still making pilgrimages here, drawn by Esalen’s focus on healing, melding of traditions and mantra of “spiritual but not religious.” Esalen’s leaders say they are tweaking the institute’s balance between the personal and the social with an emphasis on the latter so they can present the next “edge” to America.

Big "Manufacturing" - Coal, Steel, Construction Sites 

I follow an Instagram thread for a blue collar clothing company, Troll Co , who's hashtag #dirtyhandscleanmoney largely illustrates the fearsome power humanity has harnessed to get the dirty jobs done. In the secret lives of blue collar workers, I watch these manufacturing plants create the bones of skyscrapers from scratch, see teams of men hefting cables bigger than they are with equipment engineered to drill the earth to its core. Because I'm a small scale product designer, understanding and witnessing the power and economy of true, industrial material fabrication from the perspective of Big Coal, Big Steel, foresting companies, and city pavers, I get a better understanding of the minds of the people working there, their livelihoods, and what it takes to empathize with the honest hands that build empires. 



3 Natural Destinations

W3 | A3.3



A desert off the coast of South Africa, the Namib Desert is on my list of natural destinations, purely as a study of the ecosystems that thrive off of extreme environments. I personally have a deep love for cacti and their varieties of color, species, and adaptations. Overall I could learn more from playing the long game of survival and seeing beauty in desolation desert ecosystems seem to embody. 

Himalayan Cliffs 

There is truly nothing better than gaining some much needed perspective. I always have a deep longing to be where forest, stone, and cloud meet. There is a reason why Buddhist monks created architecture that spoke about unity with nature, and while I understand this exercise is about highlighting natural locations, the Buddhists married their architecture so well with the environment. I wish to learn more from their practices, using nature itself as a mediator for energetic calm. 



Ever the intrepid adventurer, I don't usually seek out the calm, easy to reach places on earth when I want to learn something about my relationship to the world. I can learn from an environment riddled with sink holes, quick sand, and innumerable wild life that can eat me. To a patient and well-prepared traveler, traversing the bogs is an important and fruitful journey hone one's ability to discern danger in the every day, and opportunities for blessings in hard times.