As Kevin or any of my friends will tell you I have an insatiable appetite for reading. I prefer biographies, mysteries, and inspirational books. I also have a tendency to surround myself with successful go-getters. I really have zero-tolerance for whiners and complainers, quitters, or those that work at not working. Unfortunately, that has seen the demise of some ‘friendships’.
I do not surround myself with like-minded individuals but folks that are life-minded. Believe me, I don’t agree with everything and not everyone agrees with me. And the world is just fine because you don’t.
Recently, a very good friend tossed me a book entitled “Spartan Up!” It’s a pull yourself up by the bootstraps type of book that states quit making excuses and get it done. Blah blah blah. Ironically, I’m captivated by it. The author is the founder of the very popular Spartan Races. Basically it states to choose the narrow road of doing things…the hard way and by accomplishing simple goals the hard way…obstacles become transparent and trivial. Life will happen. It always does. I believe how we respond to lifes attacks defines who we are.
One story in the book struck me. The author tells about a semester in college when he received a quiz that he breezed through until he read the final question.
“What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?”
The author left the last question blank when he turned in his paper. Another student asked if the last question would count toward the quiz grade. “Absolutely,” said the professor. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say ‘Hello.'”
The great Muhammad Ali tells a humbling story of a time he visited John F. Kennedy Jr at the offices of W magazine shortly before the untimely death of the prince of Camelot. Ali was brought in the office and after a few moments of catching up, JFK Jr. sat up and stating, “Hey, I want you to meet some folks. Wait here.” Ali sat in the office for a few minutes comfortable and casual about the impromptu meeting. Who were these folks…VIPs for sure. Say hello, make small chat..and never see them again.
JFK Jr. returned with the folks. To Ali’s surprise, Jr. had returned with all the building staff and janitors to meet the great prized fighter. A photo was taken with these hard working folks with Ali in the middle and JFK Jr off to the side. What a priceless moment. (I have seen the photo. I can’t find it on the web.)
This simple act of kindness is a reminder to us all that is costs us nothing to be nice to people.
The author of Spartan Up! stated that the unanswered quiz question was a lesson he would never forget. BTW…Her name was Susan.
From all of us here at leadershipvoices.com,
from our family to yours.
I know that this title may be a little vague. But it has occurred to me that at some point in the life or career of a leader, there may come a time they will need to be relieved, so to speak. Now the kind of relief I am speaking of is not discontinuing your leadership, it is maybe taking a back seat in the family to a son, maybe it is grooming a son in law to take your daughter’s hand, or maybe it is a promotion in your organization or team.
As I continually struggle internally with this I realize how difficult it is for a leader to change roles. But do they really?
It seems to me even as I write this article, that we don’t stop leading, but rather we change the method or the lesson. I will get back to that in a minute. First, let’s talk about the opportunities and who we may “relinquish” our leadership too.
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