Leaders help bring about change in people and processes. While some changes are meant to be temporary, permanent change always involves transformation. As leaders, we need to look at transformation as a progressive revelation of ourselves and others that will continue to unfold throughout our lifetime.
I’ve always loved C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia books. On the surface, they’re exciting adventure stories. But the storylines and characters are also metaphors for deep transformative leadership themes. I can’t give you a list of “5 Easy Steps to Transformation” nor can I tell you exactly what it looks like when transformation takes place. What I can say is there’s a shift in your soul when you move from a place of self-protective life strategies to approaching life as a learning opportunity.
Do you remember in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe movie when a talking beaver who tells them of a prophecy where four humans will defeat the White Queen’s hold on Narnia. Talk about leaders facilitating change on a large scale! Peter replies the prophecy could not possibly relate to him because he’s just a boy from Finchley. This statement reveals Peter has no understanding of his capabilities, his heart, and his strength of character. Peter sees himself through the lens of his human frailties and weaknesses compared to the task set before him.
I, too, used to look at myself as “just Judy,” another overweight, middle-aged mom from Columbus, Ohio. Most of my life I couldn’t imagine what God found special about me. I certainly didn’t see anything good when I looked in the mirror. “God don’t make no junk” was a common saying in the 1970s. Intellectually I knew I was supposedly valuable because God created me. But that knowledge made me feel even worse because I couldn’t emotionally believe that message. What I needed was internal transformation before I could lead effectively.
There’s a captivating, pivotal scene in the movie illustrating Peter’s growth in maturity and character. Peter, Susan, and Lucy are walking across a frozen river that’s beginning to thaw. They’re surrounded by the White Queen’s agents, one of whom echoes Peter’s prior words by telling him this is not his fight, suggesting he just return to Finchley and resume his old life.
All that had happened in Narnia went through Peter’s mind in a split second. He was free to go back to the security of the status quo. Or, he could take a risk and press forward toward the hope he would actually be transformed into a King of Narnia. My heart soars and I get goose bumps every time I watch Peter choose purpose by plunging his sword into the ice to move forward on his quest. Peter grabs the opportunity to become the man he envisions, even though he will encounter difficulties and obstacles.
This decision leads to the last pivotal transformative point in the story. As Peter prepares to lead his army in the battle between good and evil, he slumps over, declaring he’s incapable of leading an army because he’s only a boy from Finchley. His brother Edmund reminds Peter how he’s grown throughout the journey.
Success is based on boldly living out inner transformation.
So, let’s talk about you.
- What are your self-protective strategies?
For example, I keep myself super busy so I don’t focus on my insecurities.
- Where do you need internal transformation?
Self-esteem? Self-confidence? Finding your purpose? Renewing your passion?
- What step will you take this week to move toward transformation?
Right now, I’m moving toward my anxiety and worries about connecting with the world via video. I would much prefer staying behind my keyboard and putting my message out there only through the written word. But I know connecting and leading relationally means allowing you to experience me. For that to happen, I’m willing to work on showing who I am on the inside through the lens of a camera.
Connect with me so I can support you in your transformative journey. You can comment on this post or send me an email here.
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