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Thanks to Kirk Weisler with his post Growth can look like Destruction… for the inspiration behind this post. Here is the quote that stirred me.
Sometimes I have found the concept of ‘change requires growth and it’s tough’ can be presented as, well, a bit of a platitude. I’m pleased Kirk’s isn’t and I wanted to push harder, drawing on the wealth of experience I have in the times I have failed to change and grow myself! I know many times I’ve commented on being willing to change “Yes, I believe in learning and self development and I can cope with the discomfort of that. Yeah yeah yeah, ‘let’s change and grow!’”
Yet when the real discomfort, sometimes immense pain hits, my willingness appeared to evaporate. I think this is most often because the true opportunities to change don’t prop their heads up and nicely say to you, “Hi there, I’m an opportunity for change and this situation is presenting you with that chance, so let’s work through this.”
No, it comes disguised, most often as a tough, even brutal situation, an awful challenge, a lost client, a damaged or struggling relationship at work, with my children, and rather than look inwardly at myself and what I need to do to be ‘completely undone, my shell cracked and my insides coming out’…
I run and hide, or respond emotionally inappropriately, or I simply numb it down with pleasures that make me feel better, while the true core of those issues remain.
Of course pleasure used in that sense never helps the situation, or me to get through it, it’s more like putting a band aid over a 8 inch cut, it’s ineffective.
I find the visceral reality of change in Cynthia Occelli’s quote and my possibly more brutal embellishment of it is so helpful.
I find it helps because naming the events that are change opportunities with clarity, helps us identify and respond, instead of running, numbing and pain killing.
Then we can truly do what the great minds, incredibly effective and great leaders do, which is to embrace the opportunities, think outside what is happening and still feel pain but know that the ultimate best outcome for growth lies only in what a wonderful speaker, Richard Rohr, often says…
“Don’t get rid of the pain until you’ve learned its lessons”
… for if we don’t, the pain is wasted and growth impossible.
Growth is painful, but worth it.
It’s viewing life-giving acts like this that allows us to remember that truly, if we simply have a healthy child to love, we are so very blessed and how often we can take that for granted. I also found myself reflecting on my four boys.
Reflecting on all the times I have failed to be all I can be – too quick to anger, seeing them as interruptions, stopping me from getting ‘stuff’ done, too slow to mercy and love towards them in their different little worlds, growing and learning.
Reflecting on times I have managed to be all I can be – patient, loving, gentle. Having all the time in the world for them and helping them through challenges lovingly instead of critiquing their mistakes. Spending time with them. Indeed just last night I found myself lying on the ground with one of them for a while under his blanket and it wasn’t long before a family ‘stacks on’ occurred with plenty of tickling, laughter, and love.
Truly, the bright light of such an amazing example from an obviously wonderful Dad encourages me to reach higher and do more of all I can be.
It was a shining example of that wonderful saying “Anyone can be a father, but it takes a real man to be a Dad”.
What a beautiful, simple, and powerful expression of love and service. A leader’s example.
Her smile is worth a lifetime of effort surely.
I found the following simple and powerful, even to the level of organisational change. It goes right to the core of why people do what they do, which impacts everyone in an organisation.
- People always believe they are right ‘by their own method’ i.e. The process they have followed in their heart and mind to choose whatever behaviour they have just enacted. When we can understand those methods for people, we understand them and can support and help them do more of that, if it’s a positive behaviour, or invite them to another place if it’s not
- Ribbons seem to be the world’s view on how we should reward. Awards, money, badges. Ribbons. Yet I have always found the most profound reward I can give someone, without question, is when I have tapped into an element at the core of their being that they would die for and which is at the root of their belief system and I link their behaviour with that. It requires strength, reflection, and courage.
This is all relationship over ribbons as I am seeking their heart and their purpose in life and showing them how they are a light worth shining from the hilltop thanks to their behaviour. It is the tougher path of course as it requires diligence in denial of self method and seeking to understand another’s method and story.
Yours in relationship,
I hope you find this as enriching as I did. If you were after a reflection for today or this week, I encourage you to have a read and let me know what you thought or felt.
As I read it, it took me to reflect on when I lost my own father at the age of 14. I was ‘blessed’ to a certain degree with a level of comprehension of ‘living with the end in mind’ as a result. It has truly shaped my outlook on life, yet still I have so much to learn of course. This ‘living with the end in mind’ is very much like ‘beginning with the end in mind’ isn’t it and each day is truly a beginning.
I found it encouraging of things to focus on in my life and despite my own infusion of the value of life through my father’s loss I still read this article and understood there were areas I needed so much more to focus on.
I also found it such a magical article in light of the journey many make in a palliative situation, and also how it connected me to some degree with some understanding of what Dad might have gone through. It made me a little sad and a little happy at the same time as I approach the age myself where he did leave us for a better place.
I have a tear in my eye as I reflect upon how intertwined his heart still remains in mine and those of my wife and children through me. This article helped me also look upon the ways I fail them and where I could love them more as is my privileged role to perform.
It goes without saying that leaders do begin with the end in mind and the truly great leaders, live with the end in mind.
You cannot understand the person whom you dislike… You do not, cannot, see them as they are, but see only your own imperfect notions of them… To see others as they are you must not allow impulsive likes and dislikes, powerful prejudices, or egotistic considerations to come between you and them… People misjudge, condemn, and avoid each other because they do not understand each other, and they do not understand each other because they have not overcome and purified themselves. (James Allen)
If only the world were full of people who would read and adapt material like this into their daily ritual and focus.
Surely, truly, the world would be a better place, for finally everyone would be focusing on improving themselves… and seeking to understand others.
Go on, apply it in any situation, to any group of people anywhere and tell me it doesn’t work.
I know it works for me for all the people I have managed to ‘righteously claim dislike for’.
The great leaders get this and apply it.
It’s why we look upon them and call them great.
It’s why, if we seek to lead, our only option is to mimic them.
Join me and let’s do all within our power to remove the blindness of dislike for those that we need to.
“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” Margaret Mead
Caring is such a powerful word. Everyone you see is a minefield of their upbringing, emotions, losses, triumphs, and even what might have just happened to them that day!
Therefore, take notice, be observant, tread lightly and carefully lest you step on someone and set a mine off. Isn’t it just so easy to look upon someone who acts in a certain way and scoff or see such undesirable behaviour and proudly pronounce it disgusting, unbelievable. Our media are experts at it, labeling the criminal and condemning them, appealing to our sense of righteousness.
It’s easy to join in, isn’t it.
Some people we encounter aren’t playing with the same deck of cards of opportunity and love that we ourselves were given. Some people are and still just make mistakes or bad choices. Either way, caring is surely the only way to help someone in either scenario.
The greatest leaders are the greatest carers and go through the minefield of daily encounters with care their primary weapon of choice.
Do you have any amazing stories of caring you’ve seen in others, or times you’ve managed to care, even in simple ways?
I read the following passage recently and was energised by the power of its simple messages. We’ve probably all heard passages that espouse similar virtues before so I won’t go into further detail but just allow this particular one as it impacted me so well to see what it does for you.
WHILE OTHERS Are.
by William Arthur Ward
Believe while others are doubting.
Plan while others are playing.
Study while others are sleeping.
Decide while others are delaying.
Prepare while others are daydreaming.
Begin while others are procrastinating.
Work while others are wishing.
Save while others are wasting.
Listen while others are talking.
Smile while others are frowning.
Commend while others are criticizing.
Persist while others are quitting.
The only point I did want to make was one key lesson: Do what others won’t … but please do it with joy and seek to be a servant. We can often read such passages and very quickly put ourselves in an ‘elite’ place, a place where we might accidentally find ourselves proudly, though only mentally, proclaim that we are doing what others won’t and therefore considering ourselves somehow better.
It’s my view that the truly greatest leaders no matter what they are doing that others aren’t, still seek to lift others up and help them by seeing the person, seeing the challenges, seeing their battles and with no self promotion whatsoever, simply try to serve the other. Please do feel free to share any of your own stories like this in the comments.
Is it possible!!!???
I read the following blog post and my first feeling was “I’m just trying my hardest to be awesome at ONE thing!” Then I realised that that blog post was a lot about working hard in many areas and getting the most out of ourselves in all the different supporting skills to be the most awesome we can be!
I have to say that it is my belief that finding that one thing to be awesome at is the very thing that should be the focus of our lives. At a professional, which should truly be, a vocational level, I do believe that if we can all find that one thing that sits in our natural set of gifts and resonates with us, then that is truly the thing we should pursue.
It’s true you’ll find in the blog post that in fact the very first point does talk about following your passion. I think though that in addition to that one thing we find our way into, there are always supporting skills and areas we need to work hard at improving, lest we make excuses like “Oh, I’m not like that” when we might very well become like that with a bit of hard work.
I thought the points in the blog were great and of course the main point is that if we work hard enough at anything, we can get better at it and many will do so, who are truly seeking to lead anyway.
We all encounter them, we all can be cut by them, sometimes if we are in a down spot, we can all BE them!
It’s true though that sometimes people seem stuck there, consistently nasty. Often due to a tough life, a terrible upbringing, even illness – sometimes issues we can’t even comprehend. It’s so often the case that their start hasn’t been the greatest. The challenge for each of us who seek to lead anyway, is how to encounter these people and deal with them as a leader would.
I’ve heard a favourite speaker, Richard Rohr, speak on the topic of encountering people who seem like the world is on their shoulders. What hope do they have of ever changing if we, in a better place, don’t try and lift them out of it. This contrasts with our natural reaction to simply snap back or think ‘what a jerk’ and choose to be hurt and choose a ‘warring’ reaction.
Richard wisely comments that if we do choose to snap back or respond in kind to such a person, all we do is confirm what they think about the world, that it is horrible and people are nasty… all we are doing is confirming their behaviour, for what reason does anyone have to change when the world – what they believe it to be – is just like that.
What Richard encourages anyone to do is rise above the treatment we are receiving and simply respond in kindness, no matter what. When we do that, we show such a person a different world, a world where there is kindness, nice people and people willing to help others out and maybe, just maybe, if they encounter enough such people, they may choose a better path for themselves.
What’s on my mind? This SO IS… please do yourself a favour and watch it. It’s so funny and so packed with needed truth.
The world seems to be heading towards a collective groundswell of ‘entitlement mentality’ at break neck speed. Our appreciation for the amazing wanes as familiarity steals our sense of awe. The unfortunate outcome being the selfish outlook that can result and a lack of outward focus and thinking…
“I’ve been inconvenienced or don’t have this or that luxury so SOMEONE’S GONNA PAY AND THAT’S MY RIGHT!”
Ask a dying man on the streets of Calcutta what he considers a luxury… to live.
On your next business flight, or personal trip for a holiday. Stop, look out the window and just say “Wow, look at that, I’m above the clouds. Amazing!” You won’t have to tell your kids to, they’ll already be saying it… they haven’t been as affected by the folly of the entitlement that so many of us in the world enjoy. And hopefully they never will…
And leaders aren’t either.
Thanks to Kirk over at T4D for sharing this. Kirk’s post where he shared this is here: http://kirkweisler.com/t4d/2012/08/03/give-it-second-life-is-amazing/