People lead from who they are and whom they are becoming. Their life narrative—their choices, circumstances and the choices of others—is the important material that has shaped their current practices. They need to use these in understanding and planning for the future as leaders. For that reason, understanding one’s identity and story is essential for the leaders in our program of development.
Our program works with participants for two semesters to help them remember, narrate and interpret key events in their life. They write down these events as a way of giving their leadership a more authentic direction. Their narrative and related self-assessments help them see the trajectory of their leadership development, articulate their vision and create a curriculum plan that maximizes their leadership around their identity as a person.
Dan Allender (2004) put it well: “We habitually push aside the one thing that can clarify not only how we got to where we are today but also where God is leading us tomorrow and beyond. Our own life is the thing that most influences and shapes our outlook, our tendencies, our choices and our decisions. It is the force that orients us toward the future…” (To Be Told, p. 2, italics added).
By writing out one’s narrative, our participants better understand the development we have and need as leaders.
This work of helping participants anchor their leadership development in their story and connect it to the stories around them and to God’s Master Story, gives our program a holistic, spiritual and deeply authentic frame of learning.