You encounter leadership problems or challenges all the time. Did you ever notice that they end up being the exact circumstances you need in order to evolve as a person and a leader? You may have issues with people who don’t respond to you as you’d like. You might experience frustrations with initiatives that don’t go as planned. Whenever there is a “rub” that bothers you, it often shows you something about yourself now and who you can become. It is as though these leadership challenges are put in your path as part of your fate.
Fate: Past and PresentIn Ancient Greece, the well-known mythology of the Three Fates explained why life unfolded as it did. Lachesis was the Fate who drew the lots, giving each person certain characteristics and conditions along with a plot line for their life. Clotho spun the thread of each person’s life into the larger tapestry of time, giving each human a “twist of fate”. And Atropos decided how each human life would end and presided at the finish to cut the thread of life. Today, we often use the terms “fate” and “destiny” interchangeably, but these terms can be thought of as two different things. According to mythologist and storyteller, Michael Meade, “fate” is all of the limitations and challenges we encounter throughout our lives (conditions along the path); while “destiny” is our purpose or the ultimate contribution we make to the world (the destination).
Using Your Fate to Achieve Your DestinyThis distinction is key. Reflecting on your fate allows you to examine your past experience (your fate thus far) to maximize the impact you can have now while increasing your potential for achieving your destiny or potential. So, if you find yourself repeatedly encountering the same frustrating situations, you could think of the irritation as your “fate” poking you to take a look at things more closely. Maybe there are characteristics you could change or evolve further. Maybe there are new ways of thinking that could emerge from those particular circumstances. Often in leadership, we are asked to reflect by looking inward to question our approach, to throw off old patterns, and to step into new learning that will better serve us and those around us. When reflecting on your “fate” to date, look back on your experiences thus far and take notice of the following:
- People who were hugely influential to you;
- People who showed up randomly or “out of the blue” to provide guidance or assistance;
- Odd or surprising twists that put you in certain places or positions;
- Odd events that might not even make sense yet;
- Themes that keep coming up (whether or not you’ve figured out what to do with them yet); and
- Situations that, at the time, seemed negative, but that turned out best in the long run.