Leader, keep your well of inspiration and energy filled. You have an obligation to care for yourself as well as your people. Find things that encourage your heart and give your spirit the oxygen it needs.
Though it brushes up against utilitarianism, I use Art Wolfe (http://artwolfe.com) to regularly feed my heart with the delight and beauty it so desperately needs (some days more than others). I recommend you do the same. Here’s why.
You will regain perspective. Art’s images leave me with the feeling that in spite of everything life throws at me, everything will be all-right. I not only regain perspective, I regain my focus, I can look outward toward the future, I am again a happy warrior, ready for the battle.
You will be amazed. Art is (an adventurer who claims to be) a photographer. Walk in the still-warm footsteps of grizzly bears? Art’s done it. Knocked over by a gorilla? Art’s done it. Chased by a rhinoceros? Art’s done it. Photographed bull elephants from a spot so close the guide with the elephant gun repeats over and over during the shoot “Do not run. Do not run. Do not run”? Art’s done it. (That rhino might have been a wildebeast, or a warthog, but you get the idea.)
You will have your breath taken away by his images. Art really is a photographer, an award-winning, world-renowned photographer, whose gallery (currently in SoDo but moving to) Pioneer Square and beautiful homestead in West Seattle attest to the fact that people apparently like his work well enough to pay for it.
You will be inspired. Art is much more than simply a photographer. He is an artist with a heart for capturing and sharing the world’s beauty—culture, landscapes, wildlife, his own reflection in an African woman’s eyes—in a way that communicates truth deeper than words.
So, leaders, this is what you do: delight yourself back into optimism. Use Art. Start with his minute-long Vimeo videos:
Seals, Penguins, and Art on South Georgia Island: http://vimeo.com/14837740
“Why Dogs make Us Human”: http://vimeo.com/32543460
Then visit his website and leap into the images: http://www.artwolfe.com/
And then, leader, share Art with your people, show them how to be encouraged, and delighted, and inspired.
It is a leader’s obligation.
**Black holes suck everything into them, mercilessly, and in this case, delightfully.