Culture

The Month of March has Arrived: So Lead or be Led

Did you know that March used to be the first month of the year, way back in the BC era?  The month of March was so named after “Ares” the Greek god of war (or rather the Roman equivalent “Mars”).  And, that is because March was, as the first month of spring, a realistic choice in which to begin the year as well as the start of the military campaign season. Thus, the motto for the month of March is: “Courage and strength in times of danger”.  Who knew months had mottos? To further bring the point home, March’s birthstones are aquamarine and bloodstone; these stones symbolize courage, and well, blood.  So, as we start off the month of March we need to be aware that it poses great challenges to our strength of character and we must built up our fortitude.  Oh, and get the legions moving towards Gaul.

Strangely, the month of March is Hexagonal Awareness Month and March 1 is Self-injury Awareness Day (SIAD) in order to raise worldwide awareness about self-harm and self-injury.  Does a lot of self-harm occur in the month of March? Perhaps as a result of trying to figure out why it’s hexagonal awareness month. Apparently, hexagons are everywhere and wherever you are, embedded in everything you do.  Did you know that in the field of chemistry there are hexagonal crystal structures, which happen to be the boss of all other crystal structures?  Ok, makes some sense that the month of March and hexagons go together. You can learn more about hexagon awareness month here: http://hexagonalawarenessmonth.com/about

Speaking of monumental things that happen in the month of March.  There is the Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament and Spring Training for Major League Baseball.  Talk about needing courage in times of danger. How many basketball office pools just end up making people go postal? What about spring training? You can get a real sense of where the season is going to end up by looking at those first few games.  There is also Human Rights’ Day on March 21 and the International Day of Happiness on March 20.  That is some weighty psychological/societal stuff going on there.

All this brings me to the fact that there are times when we have to take a stand and lead or be willing to be led. Do you like managing a team? Supervising other people? Do you like mentoring people? Do you perhaps like being a leader? Not that a leader necessarily entails mentoring or guiding others.  There is a song by Kyla la Grange called “Been Better” that has the following lyrics:

I’ve been better when the sky was red,
and a face like yours couldn’t make me scared.
I’ve been better with the things I said,
when I took the lead instead of being lead.

There have been times when I did not necessarily want a particular job. However, the alternative was disturbing.  There was no way that I wanted to be led by someone who was not worthy of my admiration or who basically was an imbecile. There are times when people mentally check out and abdicate all leadership roles leaving vacuums all around them. It is in those instances you have to take up the leadership arms. I have thought to myself: Are you going to be led by those around you who may not have your best interest in mind or are you going to shake up the dynamics about you? So, I have stepped up to the plate and decided to lead despite the long days and weekends.  Taking the lead has meant, in a way, becoming a parent to many employees by nurturing their ideas, egos and personal development.  Those nurturing acts come at a price when you can’t apply the same to oneself. When I have had to advocate on behalf of an idea or others, my words definitely carried more meaning when I was the leader.  That is a potential benefit of taking the lead: your voice gets heard and has weight. I like the sound of my voice taking the lead.

The month of March, with its emphasis on courage, war, happiness and human rights can afford one the time to become that leader instead of being led.   As Tennyson noted in his work the May Queen:

All in the wild March-morning I heard the angels call;
It was when the moon was setting, and the dark was over all;
The trees began to whisper, and the wind began to roll,
And in the wild March-morning I heard them call my soul.

The ides of March are tugging at your soul, calling you to pull the reins of leadership. Of course Ides of March is best known as the date on which Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 B.C. Caesar was stabbed (23 times) to death in the Roman Senate by a group of conspirators led by Brutus.  Right now in our US congress, we have a ridiculous, ongoing debate about sequestration that seems to just not be going anywhere. Come the end of March, US government workers may be furloughed. Although, I did go through it a decade ago and it wasn’t really all that bad.  Regardless it’s time for our Representatives to take the lead (do what they were elected for) instead of being led by special interests groups and self-preservation.

It can be hard to take the lead instead of being led.  But the month of March should give us strength and enhance our character if we take it up on its history and promise. William Morris in his work entitled March (Stanza 1) noted:

Slayer of the winter, art thou here again?
O welcome, thou that bring’st the summer nigh!
The bitter wind makes not the victory vain,
Nor will we mock thee for thy faint blue sky.

How appropriate. March is the slayer of winter. Many of us have chosen to lead through the unknown. Others will take a “wait and see” attitude and be led.  Just be mindful of those hexagons-they are indeed everywhere.  And they have sharp edges.

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