Leadership, Maria Callas, Meraki

maria callas

Meraki is the modern greek term that translates to:

“to do something with soul, creativity, or love;

when you leave a piece of yourself in the work.”

Maria Callas, also Greek, is my favourite opera singer of all time, and one would call her a Meraklis.

A Meraklis is someone who loves life, lives it to the hilt, does everything with zeal, someone who lives for the moment, the now. Every single thing they do, every day, is done with Meraki.

To what extent do you see this in yourself? Could you bring more of yourself to life in this way, or perhaps do you feel sometimes you do this too much?

You see, Maria Callas brought Merkai to her opera singing, and she also lived this in her absolute passion for the love of her life, Aristotle Onassis, the Greek shipping tycoon. When he abandoned her and married Jackie Kennedy, it is said that she never recovered, her singing career rapidly faded and she died suddenly and mysteriously at only 55 years of age. Of a broken heart, perhaps?

What then, can we learn from the concept of Meraki and the example of Maria Callas for ourselves and for leadership ?

To give another example beyond Callas, recently I had a conversation with someone around movie actors where we discussed what we felt was the relative depth (or shallowness) of the beauty of some famous actors. We agreed that the most beautiful are those with true depth, who acknowledge and own their darkness and their light, all of their life experience, and who then allow that to be brought forward in their being and through their work. We also talked about whether or not there is potential danger in bringing all of that to the fore, as perhaps there was for Maria Callas.

Today’s post gives no opinions or answers for you, it merely muses on the power of Meraki.

In leadership, I often say it is more in the BEING than the DOING, and where a leader brings Meraki to everything they do, that can clearly be seen and felt by others and can be absolutely inspiring.

Perhaps the caveat though, is whilst it is powerful to leave a piece of yourself in everything you do, in all your work, be wary not to leave too much of yourself, else there is a chance you become so depleted, like Maria Callas, that you may not be able to recharge and recover.

To close on a positive beat, back to Maria Callas, and I share a track from my favourite album of her work, beautifully titled “La Viox du Siècle”, the voice of the century.  Of this album, the one track that gives me the most goosebumps is a recording of Casta Diva with the choir of La Scala coming in on the chorus (around 1’50” into the aria).

Listen and marvel at what we witness when someone truly puts Meraki into everything they do.