The Search for Community

The consummate joke on humans is that we are social animals in need of others to maintain our wellbeing. However, many times we can’t stand being together. That is not just true of the ornery uncle at Thanksgiving dinner. We also struggle with the best of friends who rub us the wrong way from time to time. As a result we live with constant ambivalence about sustaining our human connections. 

However, there are other reasons we don’t find satisfaction through deeper human bonds. This includes our peripatetic lives. I have resided all over the world in countries like South Africa, Zambia, USA, and Mexico. Friends have come and gone. Since I am not on Facebook I don’t stay in touch with people from my past. In the case of my immediate family I have brother in South Africa and another in Australia, a son on the West coast and one in the Midwest. These geographic challenges preclude closer family ties. I also left my historic religious roots that brought with them close community bonds. Today my cultural differences keep me at an arms length from my village community where the majority of the citizens were immigrants from Spain over four hundred years ago. Here one is not a local unless one’s grandparents are buried in the village cemetery.

Last evening in a group of friends, all in our seventies, we talked of our common longing for community. There was a time in all of our lives when we could recall deep friendship bonds. That remembered ‘gold standard’ never seems replicable since those days were often way back in our college years. But we searched for that connection anyway. And we continued to be disappointed in our current search. Paradise lost never became paradise regained. 

My deepest friendship bonds were in my twenties and thirties where factors like parenting, graduate school, and sporting activities bound my life with that of others. But this entire web of relationships fell apart when I graduated, migrated to the USA, and got divorced. 

A few weeks ago one of wife’s friends asked me “Do you have friends in whom you can confide?“ I had to confess that this is not fully found in one person. Maybe this is due to my being male. Kris my wife has no problem forming close bonds of friendship with other women. I envy this “female” capacity to bond. However, I am not inclined to use my maleness as an excuse for my not currently having close ties.

I realize that my lack of deep connection stems from a number of factors. As a child I learned to be self-sufficient. As a male I am less inclined to form deeper emotional bonds. As a peripatetic person with my frequent home relocations in recent years I did not have time to forge deeper relationships. Add to the mix my differing personal and cultural interests and striving for self-awareness to the point where my saga seems to be captured by the phrase always an outsider, never a native.

Instead of the downer prompted by the “no close friends” and “you are an outsider” litany of woe (unadulterated self-pity and ego preoccupation on my part of course), there could be a more obvious solution.

Rather than concluding that I am an “oddball” that finds it difficult to fit in, I sense that the community I seek is not to be found in a community or geographical place. Rather, it is to be discovered through a journey inward, to a home where the heart is. 

Maybe I have been searching for satisfaction that purportedly comes from our human connections in the wrong place. The solution is by us going inward before we venture outward. 

The key to real community is in my pocket and not with others. It occurs when I make the choice to see the Christ (Buddha, Krishna, Imago Dei) in others, validate it in myself, appreciate our universal oneness, and love what I see in you. This could well be the glue to true human connection. 

Go inward. Experience my inner essence and that of others.

I guess that is what “loving your neighbor as yourself” is all about. That is the place of rapprochement, genuine human connection, and the building block of community. It is also a way of seeing myself in them, both the dark as well as the light side. We all walk in each other’s shoes. We are united in both life and death. And through this inner essence we have more in common than external factors like culture and personality that divide us.

Finally, the more I make that inward journey the more I value discourse and contact with people who seek the deeper life. Throughout this memoir I have mentioned such persons. These are my soul mates on life’s journey. They are where I find my deepest interpersonal satisfaction.

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Get Yourself a Truth-Teller

We can all do with a few truth-tellers in our lives since we all occasionally succumb to phony behavior or groupthink. They can encourage beginner’s mind and innovation in our organization.

Another name for a truth-teller is a devil’s advocate. The phrase originally came from the Latin Advocatus Diaboli. This was a role prescribed by the Roman Catholic Church to an official who argued against the appointment of individuals to sainthood. This person was typically looking for character flaws that would disqualify the candidate from being elevated to sainthood.

Ancient truth-tellers included the court jester who had permission to give royals candid feedback without the risk of having his/her head chopped off. Our modern court jesters are our comedians like Trevor Noah who split our sides with laughter and blow our minds with truth.

In a similar fashion a DA in an organization “kicks its tires” by challenging the ideas of others.

However, how exactly does a person have to behave to be an effective DA? Here are some best practices.

Don’t

1.  Confuse being a devil’s advocate with an oppositional personality.

Such personality types love being contrarians with the compulsion to argue every position. Their goal is not to seek the best solution for the organization through consensus. They just love a good fight. One such person on observing two people in an argument asked, “Is this a private fight or can anyone join in?”

2. Always contradict what others say

An ineffective devil’s advocate always needs to be right and does not tolerate other opinions. The typical communication style is telling and not facilitating. They view themselves as ultimate Subject Matter Experts. Dealing with their self-assured posture is like running into a brick wall. You go nowhere fast and come away with a severe headache. The key to being effective as a DA is to find ways to build on what others say with yes/and responses rather than yes/but interactions.

3.  Be a jerk

A true test of whether a person is acting like a jerk in a group setting is that everyone comes away from the experience with a bad taste.A jerk is someone with a major personality disorder and needs to be shunted out of group discussions as quickly as possible. This requires skilled management abilities where firm ground rules are set for participation in a group.

Do

1.  Add to the diversity of thought in the group 

Someone who adds to the diversity of thought in the group increases the possibility of innovation. In so doing a DA forces the group to see things in new and different ways. Typically such persons are new to an organization, from a different cultural background, and have professional experience that is not the same as the majority of the group members.

2.  Respectfully challenge leaders

The other day a senior executive told me how to one of his reports challenged him on his proposed strategy. He said, “I found it very refreshing to be challenged by one of my junior staff. He forced me to see issues in a totally different light

3. Protect the messenger

In organizations where conformity to authority is the cultural norm the devil’s advocate is typically silenced. A person who can raise critical questions in a constructive way is crucial to the success of any group and is worth his/her weight in gold. He/she needs the endorsement and protection of the organization or senior leaders for the DA role.

4.  Push the boundaries 

The DA is not constrained by the plea “we have always done things this way”. He/she would typically ask “Why?” The key to the success of this questioning style is that the organization gives permission and encourages others to call into question its very tenets or accepted wisdom.

So go ahead and encourage the role of a DA in any of your organization’s group discussions. The sky will not fall down but the world of creativity will open up before your very eyes. The new insights you bring to the table are opened up by the curiosity and beginners mind that you foster in your group with your DA role.

5. Balance truth-telling with diplomacy 

Recently a friend of mine had to resign from her job because the organization pushed back on her truth-telling. That reminds me of a recent book title “The Truth Will Set You Free. But First it Will Piss You Off”. DA’s need to walk the tightrope of balancing being candid with the level of tolerance in the organization for truth-teling. Not always an easy task. Here truth-telling requires both courage and wisdom.

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Managing a Difficult Leader by Doing the Opposite

This article is an excerpt from my sacred memoir “Not Everyone Who Wanders is Lost” at breakframe.wordpress.com

Some leaders really rattle my cage. And when I get hot under the collar I sometimes react rather than respond in ways that can escalate a problem situation. On observing my reaction to one difficult leader one friend advised me, “Don’t poke the bear“.

This senior executive has a huge organization-busting ego, its her way or the highway, she always needs to be right, and becomes a drill sergeant and bully when people stand in her way. My ineffectual response in this instance was to joust with her and push back. I should have known better than to let her hit my hot button. The result was not quite World War 3 but it seemed to come close at times. After I left the organization (along with three other employees who protested her style of leadership), I reflected,

Surely there had to be a better way to manage such relationships?

I am reminded of the Seinfeld episode where George Costanza comes to the realization that nothing he does in his life works out for him. All his decisions seem to be the wrong ones. So he comes up with the stunt that from now on he will “Do the opposite”. There is often wisdom in comedy. So when I feel the ego cramping my style by suggesting mindless responses like “Fight back“, I ask myself, “How can I demonstrate kindness towards this person?” or better still, “How can this person be my teacher not my nemesis?”

I must add one note. Just because a person is behaving like a jerk does not mean that I have to wave the white flag in dealing with the conflict. Surrender often is a way of being codependent or reinforcing the bad behavior. We have to also stand on principle and observe best practices in conflict resolution.

The key to a successful resolution is to regard the conflicted situation as a problem to be solved rather than a battle to be fought. After we take time out and cool down we can choose wise mediation, agree on the overall strategy that needs to be realized, gain insight to why the person responds from fear and not courage, and consider what is best for the organization and the customers. All of these practices are a way of “doing the opposite”. None of them are fight or flight. All of them start with regulating our own responses and not trying to change the “problem” leader.

Finally, do the opposite when your behavior exacerbates the situation.

Question

How have you managed difficult behaviors in a leader?

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My Failure, My Friend

In a culture besotted with success how can we have a more productive relationship with our failures? And at the same time not lower our standards in the pursuit of excellence?

Some measures that we use in our organizations are helpful like the “voice of the customer or employee”. Such metrics keep us honest about the value and quality of our performance.

However, we are at a point in our national and personal history where we need a paradigm shift that keeps us from trying to avoid failure at all costs. Wallpapering our shortcomings to hide them from the world and polishing our perpetually successful image is not our real world. It is not the voice of our best self.

The good news is that we all fail by the standards of the perpetual success paradigm. For example,

·     A huge percentage of Start Ups don’t make it on the first (or second or third) attempt

·     We have all been laid off from our job at some time

·     Many of our relationships have not been satisfying or productive

·     And so on and so on 

How then can we make friends with our own mistakes and failings?  

1.  Don’t indulge in shame-based messages like “The mistake that I made is the mistake that I am”. It is how we view failure that counts. 

2.  Avoid catastrophic all-or-nothing thinking that views a mistake as the end of our world. Instruct your crazed mind that the failure was a “learning trial”.

3.  Look at examples of people like St. Francis of Assisi who did not take offense when he was insulted or criticized. Such a mature disposition adopts a detachment from the opinion of others. Or in the words of ancient Hindu wisdom, “Do your duty to god without your eyes on the fruit of your action”.

4.  Have the insight to know that the pursuit of perpetual success is what psychologist Carl Jung named our “shadow” or false self.

If degrees were awarded for failures in life I would have a Ph.D. Here I reflect on a recent meditation of Fr. Richard Rohr

One of the great surprises on the human journey is that we come to full consciousness precisely by shadowboxing, facing our own contradictions, and making friends with our own mistakes and failings. People who have had no inner struggles are invariably superficial and uninteresting. We tend to endure them more than appreciate them because they have little to communicate and show little curiosity”.

Your Story

How was your “failure” one of the best things that happened to you?

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Interview by the Executive Diary with Cedric on his Life’s Work

From the Diary Of 

Cedric Johnson 

Cedric is an expert in leadership transition and inspiring leaders to empower others. We are delighted that Cedric has agreed to answer some questions and provide us with the value of his insight into inspirational leadership

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Don’t Play Whackamo With Your Ego

We all have ego challenges. Our anthem often seems to be “I did it my way”. But this egocentric striving works against productive collaboration. It stifles the generation of new ideas and thought leadership. It divides us from each other. My way as the only way is the highway to the “othering” of those around me.

But trying to make the ego disappear just makes it stronger. So here is a roadmap for the management of this pesky part of our person.

Step One. Awareness

The worst thing I can do when my ego rears its ugly head and tell me I am the center of the universe is to deny its presence or try and push it out of my life. That denial strategy becomes like the arcade game of Whackamo where one hits mechanical moles with a mallet as they pop up from their holes. The more you knock them down the more they pop up. A better way of managing the ego is to say to it, “I see you. There you go again!”

Step Two. Compassion

When I judge myself for my small-minded ego responses the worse I feel. But when I laugh with (not at) the ego the more likely I set myself on course towards an authentic soulful response. I am not good at self-compassion because the ego tells me “You will give others an advantage over you”. My usual response to this ego voice is “tell me something I don’t know“.

Step Three. Choose The Opposite 

Some folks really rattle my ego cage. There is a leader that I know that has a huge ego, needs to be in control, and becomes a drill sergeant and bully when people stand in the way. My typical ego response is to joust with this person and push back hard. Surely there has to be a better way than conflict to manage such relationships?

I am reminded of the Seinfeld episode where George Costanza comes to the realization that nothing he does in his life works out for him. All his decisions seem to be the wrong ones. So he comes up with the stunt that from now on he will “Do the opposite”. There is often wisdom in comedy. So when I feel the ego cramping my style by suggesting mindless responses like “Fight back”, I ask myself “How can I demonstrate kindness towards this person?” In so doing this person becomes my teacher and not my nemesis.

Stage Four. Look for the true essence in myself and others

Often love, our energizing force, lies deep within us in the shadow of the ego. Any introspective venture starts with the question “Why?” Like the song of Mary in Jesus Christ Superstar I confess at times “I don’t know how to love you”. To even begin to fathom why our loving nature is constricted we need to go inward.

I need to take my needs, struggles, and ego out of the mix before I can even begin to express my loving self. I also need to be aware of what inhibits love like the struggle with its impermanence, arm wrestling with my ego, and fear that makes me believe that there is scarcity in the world resulting in my losing out in some way or another.

Now it would seem simple to say to myself “Choose to be your loving self and the other more negative stuff will melt away”.Easier said than done. At times you just don’t will yourself into loving. However one must be aware of our internal barriers that keep us from loving. 

The chief path to love is to see the value within each individual that connects us to them. Seeing their inner Buddha, Christ, or essence makes even the most gnarly character lovable. What’s there not to love about that? And then the final step is to access that inner essence in ourselves in quiet meditation and to respond to our crazy world from that place.

Often when I reach the end of all my resources and all my practice seems to fail me I come to the point of surrender where I confess “I can’t”. It is in that moment that I receive the gift of grace.

Surrender is a path to the soul-self.

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Is Work/Life Balance Really Possible?

I have yet to meet a person who has achieved work/life balance. This is due to daily changes in the landscape of our lives (life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans), there is always more piling up on our plates than we can handle, and that the metrics for balance are usually imprecise. 

Stop wasting your time on this quest because it is often a vague guilt-ridden aspiration set with the best intentions. The quest for balance is based on,

A false dichotomy between work and the rest of life

We bring the same person to work that we take home, to a house of worship, to the movies, and to the kids’ soccer games. Our needs and experience of our humanity does not change across venues. Rather than balance the quest would be better served if we asked, “How can I show up as my best self no matter where I am?”

An artificial view of time

W/L balance is based on a very Western view of time that views it as a scarce entity. As a result we fear that time will be “wasted”. In the David Lynch movie “The Straight Story” he presents his protagonist Alvin Straight as a contrast to the frenzied life. Alvin travels everywhere on a lawnmower. In so doing he experienced real human encounters. Contrast our lives hell-bent on speed with the Italian saying, “Who goes slowly goes safely; who goes safely goes far”. In this instance time is seen as plentiful. A high value in such cultures is not to rush from one appointment to another but to savour our time with each individual. 

A misplaced sense of priorities

If one places a higher priority on time at the office than one does on reading, socializing, family night, meditating, and exercise then, in Steven Covey’s terms, one is not “sharpening the saw” or replenishing one’s limited resources. One friend of mind thinks this way about being a slave to the clock, “Busy day today? Spend extra time in meditation”. All of life is sacred including sitting and doing nothing.

The fallacy that one can do everything

This unnecessary burden is especially true of women in the workforce, especially those with young children or  special needs family members. Society and especially some males take less responsibility for what is prejudicially labeled as “women’s work” The reality is that one can only juggle so many balls before they start dropping. The question then could be “How can we better share the juggling?”

Question

What are your best practices in living your priorities?

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So You Want to be a Visionary Leader

You can learn the ways of a visionary leader. In essence such a person can see around a corner into the future and inspire others to see and execute on that vision,

Now test yourself against common behaviors of such a leader.

I have known quite a number of remarkable futurists in my decades of consulting practice. Each took their organization to new levels of excellence and profitability. However, one stands out above all the others. I recently asked him “Do You See Blue Sky or Dark Clouds in your industry?” His business was going through a bit of a slump but he had an irrepressible sense for greater opportunities in the future. He saw blue sky.

o What made this leader stand out from his peers in the same organization/industry?

o Why was he like the optimistic child who viewed a pile of manure and started digging for the pony?

The thing about this leader is that he saw both the obstacles as well as new possibilities for the future.

What six behaviors made him such a remarkable visionary? 

He had a

1.  Global Business Perspective

The problem with many a successful business is that the leadership can become internally focused. What worked in the past is assumed to be the predictor for future success. However, this leader was able to appreciate and integrate multiple sociopolitical and global factors like the growing scarcity of water, nutrition needs of a greatly expanding and mobile world population, advances in technology like that of artificial , and the changing nature of the workforce that included millennials. He truly saw the bigger picture.

2.  Realist/Optimist Disposition

Futurists are not clueless or careless dreamers. They can look at the facts about their organization, good and bad, and press on to new business frontiers. That makes them courageous realists. However, what makes them stand out from the pack is that they see viable business opportunities where others see obstacles. They ask questions like, “How can we the downturn in the industry to our advantage?” Furthermore,their native optimism spurs them on in the face of opposition.

The motto of this leader was “They thought we were buried, but they did not know we were seeds”

3.  Openness to Change 

Most of us have a love/hate relationship with change. We may hear the drum beat “change or die”. We resist the imperative to alter our ways for a multitude of reasons. Ours may be conscious or unconscious, based on a fear of going out of our comfort zone, spurred by a tendency to rest on the laurels of our success, or a deep longing for the “good old days”. But in the end, the visionary leader has a compelling reason to lead change. And come hell or high water, change happens.

4.  Wide Network With External Thought-Leaders

Many senior leaders confine their network to their own organization. However visionaries have the opportunity to meet with thought-leaders beyond their own company and discipline. In so doing they enjoy the fruits of cross-fertilization. All this exposure to a wider circle enriches their capacity to innovate and expose their organization to new ideas. They also read widely. I saw that Gates reads an average of 50 books per year. An executive friend of has studied successful . Two factors makes these folks successful. A passion for what they do and a network of giving colleagues.

5.  Deep in the Arts and History

 I once taught a Humanities course in a Business Management degree program. One course assignment was for the students to visit a museum, art galley, cultural event from their ethnic , or read a biography of some important historical figure (other than in business). The assignment was then to relate this experience to their business context. The revelation was that many of them had confined their whole life experience to the business world.

Great visionary leaders not only read widely but they travel extensively, have broad experience in the arts, and are insatiably curious about everything around them. They then import this experience to their business context that becomes richer as a result. All work and no play truly makes “Jack/Jill dull-”. The leader I work with has all this intellectual and cultural breadth and it continually informs his work experience.

6. A Finger on the Pulse of the Customers

Every visionary leader has a research-based perspective on the present and future needs of the customer. In addition, both the leader and customer are in agreement as to this growth need. One stand out reason for the buy-in is that the cause being espoused is far bigger that any narrow perspective they may have. The cause also serves the common good. That data may be derived from voice of the customer surveys, trends in the industry, best practices of competitors, or break through technology emerging from R&D. In some instances it comes from the instinct of one leader. One IT Executive told me recently, “I can imagine a day when we no longer need apps .”

I realize that this article is based the anecdotal evidence of one leader who embodied all these behaviors. However,

My Question

What behavioral markers have you observed in true visionaries?

Please share your perspective.

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A Letter to my Younger Self

My dear younger self,

You are at the beginning of your career and first marriage and life is brimming with hope. You are deeply optimistic and have great plans for yourself and your new family. You believe that you made a career based on an inner calling and then set the course of your life based on this compass direction. The result is certain: things will turn out the way you planned. You work hard, stay focused, and good things will happen. Everyone roots for you and is deeply in your future plans.

Now listen up. Things are going to change.

In mid-life your whole universe may collapse. Most dreams you ever had will crumble. Instead of universal support you will run into a firestorm of opposition even from some of your closest friends. 

There are times when you will bomb terribly with mistakes that will embarrass you for years to come. Your family will not turn out the way you planned. Your career will be in in tatters. Death, divorce, and may stare you in the face. And everything in your deep-seated faith (It calls, you answer, and it happens) will be up for grabs. When it comes to your health you will have been through all manner of physical challenges. With your sense of despair sometimes at an all time low, you will sit there asking “What happened and what now?”

Here are some pointers that you will probably not believe and may completely disregard.

However, before you reject these views out-of-hand, consider this.

Right now in later life things have never been better. You may be living in the most exciting and fulfilling period of life. You learned that even bad things get better. You have come to embrace impermanence. As a result you embrace all you have today and you make the most of and are grateful for the good times

But for what’s its worth, here is my spin on the wisdom that I have discovered and the lessons learned through momentous loss, grievous disappointment, and the complete unpredictability of life. This concrete advice I offer to you my younger self.

Life is messy. It never turns out the way you plannedBut it could even get better.

In the end it is better to be a realist and not a dreamy idealist. Naïve idealism can lead to you becoming disappointed, depressed, and disillusioned. It can also keep you trying to control the uncontrollable, depend on people (as well as yourself) always behaving in rational and adult ways, and create fantasies of how you want things to turn out. In a strange way, this realization of the messiness of life normalizes things when you go through hurtful relationships, jobs that are disappointing, and broken dreams. It also helps us let go of the illusion that we are in control in life.

Success, as people define itis not everything that it is cracked up to be

We often define success as getting to the top, receiving , being financially secure, and having the model marriage and family. There are two reasons to avoid this trap. First, life does not work that way. And second, the success of being is more important than the success of doingFurthermore, the fact that there have been failures does not make you a failure. The one success you can control is by being a giving person.

Look for the many faces of grace that appear out of the blue in the hard times

Grace is the one constant in the face of ever changing circumstances . Grace is also bundled into unpredictable and seemingly hidden events despite heartbreaking and confusing losses. Through the gift of grace, (grace always finds me. I don’t find it), we experience those painful experiences to be our most transforming moments and instructional teachers. As the writer Adyashanti writes of his difficult times,

“The immensity of unconditional love was just washing over me in waves”

Grace opens the door of my heart to another way of living. The result is gratitude and a capacity to see the beauty inherent in everything. Who would have known that life could bring one to such a place?

Pay attention.

People will tell you to be mindful and stay in the moment. That advice is largely a cliche. It is more important to pay attention to everything around you. See things and people with this fresh set of eyes. Above all, get out of your head and into your heart. Keep yourself from being derailed by your emotions (I can control everything, understand everything, and predict my future accurately) . In so doing you will walk the path to discovering the magic of living. Just think of the wonderful moments you miss when you are living solely in terms of future hopes or past regrets?

Forgive yourself and others

The letting go of past “failures” is one key to finding yourself fully in the present. I find the mercy and permission to give myself absolution for the past. For those past indiscretions and foolish choices I declare myself to have been temporarily crazy (mindless instead of mindful). It also helps to be able to move to a new community where nobody knows and cares about my past and I have the opportunity to reinvent myself. Why beat up on myself when that act does nothing to change the past? Why reminisce about my flawed humanness when one real problem is the lack of acceptance of others? They may remain stuck in their desire to control or judge me, but I choose to move on.

To my middle aged self I leave you with the words of Adyashanti,

“In those moments when we know that we don’t know, when we take the backward step, heart wide open, we fall into grace.”

So my dear younger self, brimful with dreams and plans, I trust that you will learn these lessons sooner rather than later. They will not prevent the tragedies and disappointments of life from occurring. Your middle age may still be a time when the “stuff hits the fan”. However, these beliefs will empower you to see other paradigms of living. The bitter pill life will ask you to swallow will not be as bitter. It may even be the cure from yourself.

Above all, remember that it may seem that your ship is sinking but in reality it is only changing course. So you don’t have to descend into despair and hopelessness. You can then grab the opportunity to live more fully before you die. In fact you will be preparing for a better way to die.

Best wishes

The older man you never dreamed you would become

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Giving – The Path to Success

All of us to some degree or another look out for #1, our own interests. However we reach our higher self and the peak of leadership effectiveness when we serve others. We have to find ways to transition from “What’s in it for me” to “What’s in me for it”. 

Adam Grant in his book “Give and Take” points to a survey that found that most countries in the world rate “giving as their most important value”. However even givers cover up for this generous spirit for fear of being judged as weak at work. But in the end, even though they may be exploited and burn out, givers achieve extraordinary success across a wide range of industries and cultures.

Over the last few decades the idea of servant leadership has come to the forefront in leadership practice. It is seen as a more desirable way to lead. In fact Carol Walker writes in the Harvard Business Review that the leader as a servant has

The potential to deliver far more of what most of us are really after: influence.  The reason is simple. When you have a servant mentality, it’s not about you. Removing self-interest and personal glory from your motivation on the job is the single most important thing you can do to inspire trust.

The more I move towards retirement and the degree to which I migrate from the corporate to the non-profit world, I begin to experience new dimensions in the joy of service. Not that I did not serve in my consulting business. I was helping leaders and organizations realize their potential. However, working pro bono has a whole different feel to it. My experience is replicated again and again as seen in the high levels of volunteerism in the United States. When we lived in Mexico I clearly remember the three pages of volunteer organizations published in our newspaper in our Central Mexican town.

In the end givers are great networkers, don’t expect anything in return for their generosity, and have an open door policy to their hearts.

Think of some of your greatest mentors and those who placed your success and well-being above their own-

What delights have you experienced in giving?

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