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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/
No business or organisation will grow beyond or mature past the collective ability of its team and their personal growth. Can a 10L bucket hold 12L of water?
This is quite a challenging thing for me personally as at this stage I’m only mature enough to have built a team of five! What a wonderful team of committed people they are though… obviously I need to grow some more! It’s ok, I’m working on it, constantly!
I believe the biggest thing a leader can do is be a catalyst, an inspirer, a connector for people to truly become the best they can. It leads to very successful businesses and people who are responsible for their own growth, fuelled by their own passion about becoming better and contributing to a better result.
As a leader in a team, business, or organisation it is surely the most important role we have to create a system that builds and grows great people, either to produce great results within our team or beyond in a world badly in need of it. I will go out on a limb and say that surely if we fear particular team members moving on as many do in building leadership with their team, then maybe we haven’t grown enough ourselves to build a system in our own teams that we can place anyone into, with the right attitude, to ensure we constantly produce amazing results.
To do all of this, we need to build bigger buckets … constantly.
That’s what leaders do.
One of the great shames nowadays is all the different ways we’ve come up with to avoid one magical question that can changes someone’s day, when asked with meaning, intent, and dare I say it, love.
The question I’m referring to is ‘How are you’.
I believe we used to use it with far more empathy and we used to mean it. In our fast paced world and techniques of avoidance – you can’t go too deep with just anyone! – we’ve changed it to phrases like ‘What’s up’… err the sky. ‘Whadda ya know?’ … hmmm “lot’s and not much”. Or worst of all, we actually ask “How are you?” but really don’t care and simply are being polite, the encounter an interruption to a busy day and all that needs doing because my day is all about me!
You see the old fashioned approach was to take time and energy when meeting people to actually ask them ‘how are you’ and then genuinely listen for their reply then connect with them. For me, one of the more beautiful elaborations on this theme actually came from the movie Avatar. There is a tribe called the Na’vi tribe who live on the planet Pandora where the story takes place and their standard greeting when they met was ‘I see you’. It’s far deeper than the words though. It was said with meaning, a gaze filled with intent that emanated from the big emotion filled eyes of the Na’vi. It communicated so much for just three short words, the key component communicated one of understanding. ‘I see you’ really said “I’m stopping and taking time to connect with you, your life, who you are AND I care.”
For me it is surely one of the more magical lines of the movie, said many times, as it also espouses the connectedness and community that existed within this magical tribe who completely understood we truly are all connected and to ‘see’ each other was so important that it had to be recognised in such a powerful ‘standard’ greeting.
I’m not suggesting you go out and start greeting people with “I see you”, you might get arrested! However today, let’s look at ourselves and reinvigorate our “How are you”. The first challenge I have is actually use those words, it asks a commitment from the speaker if nothing else. Then lets learn something that’s very real from the very fictional Na’vi people and when we greet people, let’s communicate all that I believe the Na’vi tried to with their greeting. You never know you might connect with someone, a team member, friend, boss. Maybe even your son, daughter, father, mother, wife or husband who really needed you to stop and care. You might even change someone’s life. That’s what leaders do.
So, how are you?
Read this book…
… please! Anyone in leadership should read this, which is anyone in life, for shouldn’t our lives be a constant reflection of someone seeking to live the best life they can, which is to lead with our life? If you are looking for an incredible book, even if you aren’t, even if you haven’t ever made the effort to read a book of this type – make this your first.
It challenged, helped, and moved me. It flushed me out from hiding places built up over time, yes I was self deceived, shock horror! Are you?
It was powerful.
Not compelling enough? Check out this related video about Ignaz Semmelweis:
Love to know if you like/read/have read it and are you brave enough to share about it as we all try to help each other out of the box and…
PS – Don’t think you ‘have time’ to read. Get on an audio book tool and start learning, growing, changing in ‘dead time’, driving by yourself, doing lawns and so on.