After close to a decade of working in developing countries, and founding an initiative in Cambodia, I realised I had fallen into a trap. I was perpetuating a myth: that change comes from the heroics of foreigners like myself. The reality couldn’t be further from the truth.
“I’m hoping everything will be brighter by April. Stay in touch.” Less than 2 months after sending me this message, Mark Colvin passed away. Mark taught me many things, but perhaps the most crucial was this: The world does not revolve around my desire to help others.
In 2013, I started OIC Cambodia . Now, I’m months away from handing over leadership.
Stepping back from OIC, the organisation I founded, will be bittersweet. But this move isn’t just necessary, it’s also crucial to our future success. Here’s why.
In the coming years, we’ll look back at 2016 fondly. It was a tough year, we fought hard, and made some mistakes too. But on balance, 2016 was a year when OIC Cambodia took huge steps towards no longer being no longer a baby. In 2016, we learnt to walk.
Before I speak to you about my work in Cambodia, I wanted to tell you a little about how I’ve come to stand before you today. My great grandparents left China during a time of famine, and moved to Malaysia. My parents came to Australia in the 70’s, seeking a better life for their children. At the time, my father had $200 in his pocket.
In the West, it seems we want to worship leaders who are invincible. Leaders who are all knowing, all wise and can do anything. In my experience, these leaders don’t exist. Here’s how my experience as the leader of OIC Cambodia involves getting people better than me on board.
John C. Maxwell said: “The difference between a boss and a leader is that a boss says, “Go.” A leader says, “Let’s go.”” We need to throw the word “boss” out the window.