Nathan Peterson

I Figured Out That I Don't Actually Want To Change the World

When I was 19, I wanted to change the world. At least, I thought I did.

I started a band with a grand vision to help the world accept themselves as they are. I wrote songs about identity and the struggle to embrace our inner beauty rather than to judge ourselves to death.

But I never felt I was doing enough.

I reached thousands of people, but I wanted to reach millions. I wrote good songs, but I didn't feel they were good enough. I sang well, but I wanted to sing better. I pushed and pushed myself. It never felt like enough.

How does a leader lead?

It is not by telling others where to go... a leader leads by going there first.

I wanted to change the world, and tried for 20 years. I did a lot of good. But never enough.

Then I started having voice issues. I lost my voice on stage. I felt helpless. Foolish. Weak. I tried everything to make my voice strong. I practiced hours every day. I studied with the best coaches. I read every book. Still, it was never enough.

How does a leader lead?

At the height of my efforts, Olivia was born. She embodied an effortless beauty and perfection—the very thing I had been talking about for 20 years. The very thing I had been trying to find in myself.

She didn't talk about it; she embodied it, without effort or doing of any kind. It didn't take Olivia 20 years—she was already there. And simply by her being, I was changed.

By Olivia's light, I finally found my own. Through her life, I finally found my own.

How does a leader lead?

Olivia was a leader.

Since her life and death, I have been stripped down to bones. I have let go of everything. I am learning how to be. And here, where I am, without any effort or doing of any kind, I have found what I wanted when I was 19.

I didn't want to change the world. I wanted to find myself. I wanted to be free. I just didn't know it at the time.

Paradoxically, I now understand that this is the one thing one can do to change the world!

#freedom #leadership #self-awareness