I was having a conversation with a colleague and two of our new freshman this week at a scholarship breakfast, and the talk turned to what we were presntly reading. Each of the participants shared their reading material and when they asked me what book currently kept me busy, I sheepishly admitted that I was reading a biography of Barbra Streisand. Let me tell you, just typing that right now was hard to do. For those who keep current with this blog, you know that I read a lot - and tend to focus either on classic fiction or books on leadership, management and history. So to admit to a group publilcly that I am reading (gulp!) Barbra: The Way She Is is very difficult for me.
However, let me take a different tack on this seeming indulgence - and put it in the context of what leaders do. Those who lead organizations and groups know how difficult it can be. They know that the thought of leadership never really leaves them - even when they read pablum they are looking for leadership kernels within the pages...when watching silly romantic comedies, they are looking for leadership examples to show in class or an inservice training...when they simply lay on the beach with nothing better to do, they are planning their next strategy. So I have been looking for leadership examples in my current readin of Barbra, and guess what...
there are none (well, I suppose I could find something, but I am not going to try). The essence of this blog is to say to myself (and to others who might read it) that sometimes we need to escape - we need to have fun - we need to be mindless - we need to relax - we need pablum in our lives...and we should not be embarassed about it (speaking of pablum...I just looked it up to make sure I was spelling it right, and did you know that the word originated from a mushy cereal produced for children, similar to oatmeal?).
So where are you indulging yourself these days in pablum? Is it in a good trashy novel...in a entertainment magazine (I and a fan of Entertainment Weekly)...in movies that make you laugh for no apparent reason...in gardening and watering...in sorting baseball cards (that used to be a part of my escape)...in hanging out with the neighbors...in watching baseball or football just because it is on the TV...in taking an afternoon nap just because you can...in looking through old comic books...or maybe you are also reading Barbra: The Way She Is?
Enjoy your pablum - indulge in small pleasures - and do not feel guilty, because tomorrow you need to get back at it and lead your organization and people...and you will need all of your energy to do that well!