Posted by: Dr Churchill | January 13, 2023

Rumi on Leadership and a brand new Unified Theory of our own..

Leadership is not unlike parenting.

Wearing myriad of hats as a teacher, leader, coach, taxi-driver, playmate, mentor, guide, philosopher, friend, counselor, and a few others like being a cook, a feeder, a security blanket, cry-fellow and sleeping partner — is what being a father truly is.

Yet, as a leader, have you ever thought of wearing a different hat and seeing yourself as a ladder, a lamp or a lifeboat? 

Rumi, the great Persian poet admonishes you:

“Be a lamp, be a lifeboat, be a ladder. Help someone’s soul heal. Walk out of your house like a shepherd.”

He was speaking directly to emperors, kings and leaders of his time and not just to his disciples, and his words resonate through the ages as if he has been speaking to you, me, and to all other wise human beings. 

Some words never lose their essence for teaching leaders how to lead, because leaders who mentor, coach, and transform others, need to be a lamp, a lifeboat, and a ladder at different times in their journey of learning, life, work, and leading, loving & developing their people.

Because the ability to shine a light on an idea or issue, and your capacity to offer crucial insight, and a helping hand to help people advance, is a sign that a leader knows how to teach others to see what they need to see, and to nourish them, through their meaningful work, full of Love & Purpose. 

By becoming a lifeboat, you can rescue all others and carry them to safety, and by being a rock-solid support when team members falter, and helping them be promoted up the career ladder of success; a true leader demonstrates strength exactly when others most need it.

This is where you provide assurance, vulnerability and belongingness to all your people as you forgive yourself for all past mistakes and misgivings, that might have precipitated their own errors and organizational mishaps.

Leaders who see, understand and comprehend, that they are first and foremost, a resource for others, not only make other people feel better, be more productive, and successful, through their feedback, coaching, and experiences; but they also spread light throughout their organizations.

And according to Rumi, and yours truly — becoming a lamp, a lifeboat, or a ladder is what leadership is all about, because those of us who excel at one or even more of these roles that help all others, need to also continuously push themselves to get better at all three, since these three functions combined, manifest the multifaceted aspects of the fulness of a true Human Being living life at its fullest. 

And because, different people need different things from their leaders — it suffices to say, that if all a leader does, is shine a light on issues, then, they miss the opportunity to provide the sustenance and tools others need to succeed. So they need to embrace the other two roles of being a lifeboat and a ladder, as well as being a Light to the world.

Similarly, those compassionate leaders who primarily lead by supporting others and providing nourishment and love, must push themselves to become better teachers and coaches too. 

And that takes some doing, but the glue of the Universe, is none other than Love, and when love is applied liberally, it compensates for all of our deficiencies in all key aspects of our work, life and leadership.

Conversely, when there is a deficit of love — entropy creeps in and it tends to efface all of our good deeds and efforts at belonging and even becoming, who we truly are…

Rumi’s metaphor of the Good Shepherd is all about love for creation, love for humanity, and love for the whole of the sentient world. And it is this quote that proves that Rumi understands and embraces my Philosophy of Physics that I wish to explain here, hoping that I am the Light that shines towards a fuller understanding of the Unified & Unifying Theory — that it is only Love that holds the Universe together.

Love is the glue…

And although I want to expand upon this theory in action, that the Power of Love is what binds together everything, from the dance of subatomic and atomic particles, to the erotic movement of the celestial objects, and to the close tango of the planets and galaxies and the multitude of the universes, just as much as Love between two human beings dancing, brings solace to the Soul and makes Life worth living…

Such is the love that the shepherd exhibits for his flock, and this is Rumi’s metaphor of God loving and living through all beings and his creation, and that is where Rumi excels in his teachings, when he says:

“Walk out of your house as a shepherd”

This is a reminder for us, to get to “know” and love all those around us, and to be willing to nourish, lead, and engage in all the necessary actions that will help others thrive, even if those actions make us feel uncomfortable, insufficient, and vulnerable.

Yet the shepherd must continue doing these basic functions ceaselessly, mercifully, and graciously, at all times, regardless of the response of others, since he knows that in due time — they will understand… 

Because in the final analysis, leadership is about making people, organizations (flocks) and all situations — far better, through our behaviors, decisions, and actions, by always applying the daily stoic, kingly, and shepherding routines that display our common purpose and give meaning to our lives.

Meditate upon this and you’ll understand and perhaps even embrace the idea that all of us, can be better humans, better leaders, and better Citizens of this Universe, by becoming better “lamps, lifeboats, and ladders” in service and support of all mankind, not just our children, but especially those few people that are dependent on us to show them the path out of the desert, and lead them towards the promised land. 

It is a great mission to wake up each and every day and regard it as a chance to make some progress as a leader, and a fulfilled human being, fully knowing that people around you need your light, your support, and your authenticity. 

So be a bit more like Rumi today, because it advances your Soul towards fulfillment, it pushes your Being towards success, and drives your Life towards love, abundance & prosperity.

Rumi says … so be it.

Cheers, and please keep looking up at the stars, for it is there where you will understand your destiny on this Earth.


Dr Churchill


Please keep in mind that the core dimensions of humanized leadership are these three metaphors:

Lights, Lifeboats, & Ladders.

And if it helps you remember the images that are vividly mentioned by Rumi, being a lamp, a ladder and a lifeboat — consider his face on this cloth image above that shows his pain at being more fully human, and therefore much affected by pain, hurt and sympathy, due to his frailty, empathy and grace.

May your remember that, and thus allow me to always serve you, as a reminder to put the human back squarely into the very business of Love, and to let that simmer through your Organization, Government, Enterprise, and even your very own self & family. 

Enough said.

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