“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
—Martin Luther King

This is essay #24, the halfway mark of my 2021 writing project. Two dozen essays have been shared and two dozen are yet to be created. Thank you for engaging and participating.

As a lifetime basketball player and coach, halftime in a game is an important moment to evaluate what’s transpired and set clear intentions for the work ahead. Taking stock in where we’ve been and where we’re going is always a valuable exercise.

When I begin a writing project I don’t fully know where it will take me or how it will end. While this approach has its pitfalls, it also has otherwise incalculable benefits. Writing, for me, is about surrendering to the unknown and releasing one’s instinct to seek control. It’s about learning to follow. It’s about letting the sacred light of the Universe flow through you in its most authentic and creative form. Your fingers on the keyboard become a conduit for the trajectory of the collective consciousness of humanity. Writing is about letting the divine speak through you.

But every writer still must strive to organize their thoughts in the best possible way. Even when the words are flowing freely, there’s lots of work to be done. While a river broadly defines a boater’s path, all kayakers still bring a paddle.

So, in order to maintain our course, let’s check in on the mission of this journey before proceeding to the second half.

Six months ago, in essay #1, I wrote the following:
The organizational structure of human society was long ago designed to compel us to look EXTERNALLY for direction, solutions, leadership, and control. This has been an intentional exercise and has produced an empire-centric view of our world. Employees exist to serve their company, followers, their church, and citizens, their state. These institutions have done some good through their centralization of power but they have also done some bad. Regardless, in virtually all cases, the common denominator is that the individual is advertently made small before the capital, the kingdom, and the crown. True power, we’ve been taught, lives “out there,” beyond our reach.

I’m interested in flipping that script. The goal is not to eliminate human institutions but rather to refocus them on dispersing power, not collecting it. The real power source of humanity lives dispersed and WITHIN us all. Each of us is a spark of divine light, a never-to-be-repeated gift. Institutions should exist to celebrate and accelerate self-actualization at an individual level. A great company (or country), therefore, should serve, honor, and ignite the talents of the people who work there.

The twenty-first century has the potential to mark the ascension of decentralized power, but for that to happen, the traditional model of leadership and followership must be reinvented.

That was week #1’s mission. In the twenty-two essays that followed, what if anything about that cause has evolved or changed?

Ultimately that’s up to each reader to decide. My sense is that this original intention is holding strong. In summary I’m aspiring to advance the following tenets of personal growth and organizational excellence:

The Seven Truths of Personal Growth and Organizational Excellence

  1. The sacred power and mystery of the Universe must be found first within you. “You are the truth you seek to know.” —Joseph Campbell
  2. For eons, those with the most social influence (church, state, and corporations) have attempted to convince individuals (including you) that authority and power live somewhere “out there,” beyond your grasp.
  3. But today a new age is dawning. The twenty-first century (the Aquarian Age) is all about dispersed power. It’s about awakening at the individual and local community levels. It’s about the recognition that every human voice is a sacred power source of light unto itself.
  4. In this new age change must first be created from within. You light up the world by honoring and serving yourself.
  5. This new paradigm shift transforms the traditional roles of leadership and followership. Today the followers must learn to lead and the leaders must learn to follow.
  6. Individuals don’t exist to serve human organizations. Human organizations exist to serve their individual members. When this shift occurs, organizational excellence becomes the outcome of a higher calling. That higher calling is improving the world one human at a time by helping the person in front of you feel trusted, respected, valued, and heard, exactly as they are.
  7. The old world order required and demanded conformity of thought. The new age that is upon us thrives by honoring diversity of thought. Voices are unique by design.

So far, the message has held course. But I would also add that, beneath it all, a singular new understanding has emerged. It has become clear to me that there is one universal power source that enables the high-end of humanity to manifest.

That singular power source is LOVE.

Love is the gift that every human, in every moment, regardless of race, religion, geography, or circumstance, can choose.

Love is a choice.

Love, or its absence, sets the stage for all that follows.

Jesus knew this. Gandhi knew this. Buddha knew this. Martin Luther King knew this. All the great prophets led with love.

But here’s the secret. Love cannot emanate from you until it’s held within you. This is why changing the world is an inside job. We must ignite the flame within before we can strengthen the fire of another.

Thus ends halftime.

I love you!

* * *

Thank you for considering my thoughts. In return I honor yours. Every voice matters. Nestled between our differences lies our future.

“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.”
—Pablo Neruda


This is the twenty-fourth in a series of short essays to be posted by Kevin Hancock to www.thebusinessofsharedleadership.com in 2021, in honor of Black Elk, the Oglala Sioux holy man who was escorted as a child on a sacred vision quest by the 48 horses of the four directions to visit the six Grandfathers. My horses, prancing they are coming. They will dance; may you behold them. On that journey Black Elk understood the sacred power that dwelled within him and lives within us all. He also recognized that this power could be used for good or bad. Intentional we must be about the path we walk.