Over the summer I heard a song on the radio that stuck in my mind. It popped back into my head again last week with the latest research about what makes an effective school leader.
It was mid August. I remember it was an unusually sunny morning for a Scottish summer day. It felt hot even though it was early in the day, about 8 o’clock. I was on my own in the house, in fact I’d just stepped out of the shower, when the song came on the radio. I immediately tuned in. Maybe it was the Scottish accent, maybe the melody, but the words caught me and made me listen extra hard. I can remember thinking, ‘I must find out who that is and what it’s called.’ It sounded like the well-known Scottish band Biffy Clyro, but when I Googled all the excerpts from their latest songs and listened to each one, I didn’t recognize it. I searched harder. I was determined to find this song, find the band; the lyrics had ensnared me. I eventually found a way to search for radio programme playlists. By working out the approximate time I’d heard it, I could pin it down.
And there it was – The Chaser by Scottish band Twin Atlantic. As soon as I heard the first few notes I recognized it. As soon as I heard the chorus I was singing it. I’d remembered the words from one hearing, that’s how much it had stuck in my brain.
So what was the reason for my hunt? Why was I so determined to find this song?
Because it gripped me. My heart was beating frantically. I felt like I’d made an important discovery. I know it sounds corny, but I felt it was specifically for me, explicitly about me.
It summed up my life – my search for the perfect leader to lead me, then the perfect book, article, model and programme to create the ideal leader – my constant chase.
As I sang it I felt a weight lift, I felt relieved.
‘All my life I’ve been a chaser.’ And I’ve never been conscious of it…. until now.
Now I’m aware of it, I’ve decided to stop chasing. I don’t need to. This song has helped me realize the ideal leader isn’t out there – it’s inside. I’m the leader I’ve been looking for all along. It’s hard to chase an imaginary self, impossible to catch, so I’m not even going to try any longer. I’m going to run with the leader in me – no longer ‘put the voice in my head to the back of my mind’.
I feel excited. It’s taken a couple of months, a lot of tuneless singing and a new piece of research to finally persuade me to give up the chase.
Time to ‘super future design’ for myself; no longer ‘my heart is a bomb that my head can’t find.’