Stretching to the Future

One of my all-time favorite courses was a graduate course that I took as part of my doctoral work. “Leadership, Literature, and the Individual” was taught by Dr. Floyd Brandt in the business school. We studied leadership by reading novels. I loved it! The premise of the course was this: “This course begins with the postulate that novels and plays are among the world’s greatest instruments of education…. When we allow the skilled writer to take us on a journey into the minds of fictitious characters, then we must visualize and imagine the outcomes of those encounters, and thereby learn about ourselves. This ability to imagine the outcome of future interactions seems to be one of the characteristics of a good leader.”

This is part of what we mean when say we want leaders who have vision. We want people who can imagine the future. We want people who can imagine a different future than the one we face at the moment. We want leaders who can stretch their imaginations into new places, new interactions, and empathize with the experiences and responses of others.

In yoga, we practice stretching to allow us to increase our range of motion and our ability to sit quietly in meditation. In leadership, we stretch to increase our skills. We word to extend the range of options we have to respond to the many situations we face. And we reach to improve our ability to imagine new ways to serve our organizations and the students they serve. We need leaders who can help us learn to stretch our imaginations to develop new ideas for a variety of possible new futures. Facing the future is always challenging. Imagining the future can be daunting, but it’s possible when we stretch.

Photo by Melchior Damu on Unsplash

It’s also part of a leader’s work to stretch back to help others come forward. Leaders help others stretch toward a new way of doing and being. Yoga helps us learn to trust our ability to stretch safely and then as leaders teach others they can stretch into the unknown safely as well. What are you doing, no matter your position, to help yourself stretch your imagination? What are you doing to help the people you work with learn to stretch in a healthy safe manner as they move into an uncertain future?

Take care,




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