Authentic Servant Leadership Comes from the Inside Out

In their essay, Finding Your Voice, James Kouzes and Barry Posner write that, in their thirty-five years studying leadership, “We keep rediscovering that credibility is the foundation of leadership… We’ve come to refer to it as the First Law of Leadership: if you don’t believe in the messenger, you won’t believe the message.”

Throughout their journey, great leaders fill their leadership portfolio with a continuous flow of experiences that grow and develop the skills, talents and knowledge as they master these fundamental tools of the leadership trade. Yet, simply having the tools and applying them doesn’t ensure successful leadership. As the authors write: “If you don’t believe in the messenger, you won’t believe the message.”

Kouzes and Posner tell great leaders:

“To lead others, you have to learn about yourself. After all, if you are to speak out, you have to know what to speak about and, if you are to stand up for your beliefs, you have to know the beliefs you stand for. To do what you say, you have to know what you want to say. Authentic servant leadership cannot come from the outside in. It comes from the inside out…. Don’t confuse leadership with talent. And don’t confuse leadership with tools and techniques. They are not what earn you the respect and commitment of your people. What earns you their respect in the end is whether you are you.”

May you remember Dr. Seuss’ gentle counsel: “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.” Continue to be more than you ever dreamed you could be… and more… so much more youer than you.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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If Serving Is Below You, Leadership is Beyond You

In their book, Servant Leadership in Action, Ken Blanchard and Renee Broadwell have collected an incredible collection of essays by prominent writers on the subject of servant leadership. Simon Sinek, in his essay, The Evolution of Servant Leadership, suggests that the origins of servant leadership can be found in anthropology. Some 40,000 to 50,000 years ago, he writes, people lived in populations of 150. Tension existed between the stronger and weaker. To deal with this, we evolved into “hierarchical animals” who constantly assessed who were in dominant roles: “We tried to figure out who was the alpha…. If we assessed that others were more senior in the social hierarchy, we would voluntarily step back and allow the alpha to eat first.”

Sinek believes that today we continue this assessment in search of the alpha, or leader. Yet, that position comes with a price. Hewrites: “A deep-seated social contract is hardwired into all human beings. There is an expectation that, when danger threatens, the alpha… will rush forward toward the danger to protect the tribe.” It is in this that he finds the anthropological roots of servant leadership: “Leadership, it turns out, is not about being in charge. Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge.” He relates this to the responsibility of parents who, while in authority, would do anything to protect and serve their children “to benefit the life of another human being.” They put aside their interest for the well-being and life of others.

Sinek concludes writing that servant leadership “is not based on a series of transactions, but on the promise of being there when someone needs you most…. A few scattered, well-intentioned actions by a leader can’t hurt, but they won’t breed loyalty…. It is the accumulation of a lot of little things that makes all the difference.” May we take care of those whom we serve. Yes, we will hold them accountable and responsible. We will grow, develop and guide them. We may push them to their limits to achieve their greatest potential. We will do all these things because we deeply care for those in our charge, those whom we serve.

On our journey, may we always remember the wise caution given us by Bishop Dale Bronner: “If serving is below you, leadership is beyond you.” May your servant leadership take your leadership and the leadership of those whom you serve to heights undreamed… because you care.

In these difficult days, your servant leadership is deeply needed. As Sinek tells us: “Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge.” There are so many who need you most, family, friends, business and professional associates. May we be there for them… always. Life is so very good.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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On The Joy of Dreams

An unknown author wrote: “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.” Beautifully complementing those words, Oprah Winfrey said: “The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” Dreams are the magical keys that unlock the great leaders’ isolation from the limitless possibilities both they and life offers. They are the stepping-stones from the ‘as is’ to the ‘what can be.’ All the joy, beauty and happiness that awaits to be held begins only with a single step forward to their realization.

Carl Jung wrote: “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to be.” May you make that choice to begin your greatest adventure. Believe in yourself; work hard and passionately and live the life you imagined. Stay focused and motivated. On that journey, may you also cry out and say as Martin Luther King, Jr., once did: “I have a dream…”, and live that dream with passion, purpose and pursuit. May you remember the wise counsel of Henry David Thoreau: “Go confidently in the direction of your dream. Live the life you have imagined.” And have the biggest adventure of your life.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Who Will You Be Today?

In his blog post, Daily Discipline, Brian Kight writes of No More Waiting. He reminds great leaders that each day is another building block, another step, in achieving their outstanding life’s purpose and meaning. It is not just another day. It is more… so much more.

When you think of today as just another in your life, it becomes a block of time to get through. When you think of life as a stacking of your days, today becomes the most important one.
Today is not only a chance to live at your best, it is your best chance to create more of what you desire. Choose your intention, align with your purpose, and pursue it with skill today.
Discipline is the shortcut. Do the work.

The great leaders’ positivity and passion are found in their daily quest to see and realize another precious morsel which adds another fragment to their life’s mosaic. They understand that who they are and what they have achieved is the result of a lifetime of days that they have been meticulously sculpted. They relish the joy in adding to it and embellishing its beauty. Fana Gueye reminds us: “A typical day is the building block of your life. Want to change your life? Start by changing the way you spend your typical day.” May you choose to make each day of your extraordinary journey another masterpiece of purpose, commitment, caring and love. May you begin that step each day with the words: “I will passionately and excitedly live this day to its fullest… and more.”  The choice is in your hands. Life is so very good.

Please take care, and may you and your families be safe and well.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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Lessons from an Exam… the Black Dot

A dear friend recently shared an inspirational video, Exam Lesson, with me suggesting that it may be very worthwhile sharing it with our Three Minute Leadership family given the world in which we are living. Yet something was telling me that this subject had been in our readings several years ago. I did some research and found it. My friend suggested: “In these dark days, it might be advisable to send it again as a reminder that we see good days ahead. Lots of white space for all of us.” My thanks to him for his thoughtful suggestion for our Three Minute Leadership family. He saw white space for all of us.

The Black Dot

Posted on September 6, 2015

Nikos Kazantzakis wrote: “Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality.” How great leaders see their world creates their realities. The story of the “Black Dot” captures this simple truth.

“A young professor held up a piece of paper with a small black circle in the middle of the page. He then asked his students what they saw. Their responses, all of them, were the same.  They all defined the black dot explaining its position in the center of the sheet of paper.

He said that the interesting thing was that the black dot made up only 1% of the page, while the remaining 99% was white. He commented saying this was so very much like our human nature – we tend to focus on the black dot instead of seeing all the white space around it.  We have a white piece of paper to observe and enjoy, but we choose to focus on the dark spots.”

The story gives pause to great leaders – the moment to reflect on where their attention is focused – on the minute details, the distractions, the problems, the dark spots? Or, do they choose to focus on the big picture, the broader canvas – that magnificent 99% of white space that can be explored and filled with infinite possibilities for change and growth?

Great leaders find counsel in the words of Henry David Thoreau“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” There is awesome  power in these words as they capture the vital ingredient of you, and how you see the world. You are beautifully special and unique, that additive ingredient to the mixture of life and reality that creates magic. As Anaïs Nin tells us: “We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are.”

May you also teach those whom you serve to see their realities through different eyes. Share this simple exercise with them. Help them see the world differently… and they will change the world.

During these challenging times, may we all open our eyes with joyous optimism to the possibilities that life is offering us… that beautiful white space which we can fill with dreams, hope and planning for our days ahead. May we also find, even in that dark spot, opportunities to grow and help others find their own beautiful white space.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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A Good Life Contains These Six Essentials

Every once in a while, we need a gentle reminder of things that we all know are important in our life, yet sometimes forget. In a posthumous blog, A Good Life Contains These Six Essentials., Jim Rohn’s thoughts are beautifully captured:

1. Productivity – You won’t be happy if you don’t feel productive. The game of life is not rest. Yes, we must rest, but only long enough to gather strength to get back to productivity.

2. Good friends – Friendship is probably the greatest support system in the world, so don’t deny yourself the time to develop it. Nothing can match it. It’s extraordinary in its benefit.

3. Your culture – Language, music, ceremonies, traditions, dress. All of that is so vitally important that you must keep it alive. The uniqueness of all of us, when blended together, brings vitality, energy, power, influence, and rightness to the world.

4. Spirituality – It helps to form the foundation of the family that builds the nation. And make sure you study, practice and teach—don’t be careless about the spiritual part of your nature because it’s what makes us who we are,

5. Don’t miss anything. Go to everything you possibly can. Buy a ticket to everything you possibly can. Go see everything and experience all you possibly can.  Live a vibrant life. If you live well, it will show in your face; it will show in the texture of your voice. There will be something unique and magical about you if you live well. It will infuse not only your personal life but also your business life. And it will give you a vitality nothing else can give.

6. Your family and the inner circle. Invest in them, and they’ll invest in you. Inspire them, and they’ll inspire you. Take care of the details with your inner circle.

During these challenging times, may we pause periodically and remember Rohn’s words: “The ultimate expression of life is living a good life.” As Bishop Fulton J. Sheen always said: “Life is worth living.” Let’s choose to live it to its fullest… with passion, unconditional love and deep caring, and never miss one precious moment.

Please take care, and may you and your families be safe and well.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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On Being an Encourager

George M. Adams wrote: “There are high spots in all our lives and most of them have come about through encouragement of someone else.” His words speak to the joyous power of encouragement. Encouragement is that magical gift that great leaders give to those whom they serve which opens someone’s eyes to a greater belief in their own possibilities. They see themselves as better than they believe they are, capable and more confident in what they choose to do. Their attitude is uplifted and their spirit turns from self-doubt to positivity.

Great Leaders are encouragers of those whom they serve. John Maxwell writes that “Encouragers understand that life is not a dress rehearsal.” He follows this with a quote attributed to Stephen Grellet: ”I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” In its simplest form, encouragement is about caring. Margaret Mead said: “Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” May you change the world of those whom you serve and touch. May you remember the words of Mandy Hale: “To make a difference in someone’s life you don’t have to be brilliant, rich, beautiful, or perfect. You just have to care.” May you care deeply to fill your days with moments of encouragement, that those who receive it see possibilities undreamed within themselves to change the world.

May you and yours have a Happy Easter and Passover.

Happy  a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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On the Joy of Imagination

Albert Einstein speaks to imagination’s importance and its critical value in the lives of great leaders, writing: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” The powerful message to great leaders is that new discoveries happen only when the mind is opened beyond known limitations to the infinite possibilities of the unknown.

Imagination is that magical key that opens the mind and heart to new knowledge, new ways of seeing the world. It is the key that unleashes innovations, new insights and perspectives, different and unique approaches to avenues of thought – the beautiful, bodacious and priceless step that takes them from the ‘as is’ to ‘what can be’.

George Bernard Shaw wrote: “There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” May you be among those exceptional and extraordinary leaders who go beyond the known in relentless, passionate search of what can be – in yourself, your life with your family and those whom you serve and in your professional career journey. Let your imagination embrace the entire world and all there ever will be to know and understand. Life is so very good.

Please take care and may you and yours be safe and well, and may you find great learning from this part on your magnificent life’s journey.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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On the Value and Joy of Discipline

Great leaders are faced with a world of changes right now: changes from without and within. New external regulations and demands are being imposed on society, and daily habits and routines are disrupted in response to them. An inner voice beckons for normalcy, yet its time is not yet now. There is a need for something in order to recapture a sense of control and routine. For great leaders, discipline is their key.

While the word discipline may bring to mind feelings of rigidity, structured harshness, limitations and even discomfort, the real living with discipline creates a different actuality.  it brings comfort, order and control in its exercise.  Abraham Lincoln said: “Discipline is choosing between what you want now, and what you want most.” It is doing what is right and important in the now. Through a new discipline, daily habits and routines will be adjusted to continue to find the fulfillment that was theirs. Priorities will be revisited and reshaped to meet the new circumstances. Mindsets will be attuned that positivity plays even a greater role in their servant leadership of others. Discipline will serve to bring a normalcy back from a perceived chaos.

An unknown author wrote: “The distance between your dreams and reality is called discipline.” May we take others with us on our journey on this road less traveled that they, too, find a renewed normalcy. And on that journey, may the words of George Washington echo in our ears: “Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all.”

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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On the Joy of Giving

Albert Pine (aka Paine) writes: ‘What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.” One of the grandest gifts that great leaders give to those whom they serve is the selfless giving of themselves. It is found in their belief in a person – their potential, possibilities and passion. It is felt in the inspiration they bring in their words, excitement and enthusiasm that lights a spark in people’s hearts and minds. It is brought to life in their energy, grit and ceaselessness in their pursuit and fulfilling of their life’s purpose and meaning. It is actualized in their words, actions, behaviors and attitudes.

Oprah Winfrey reminds us: “We’re all here to figure out how to best give ourselves away.” John Maxwell adds richness to her thought saying: “We are grateful for when we receive, we are fulfilled when we give.” May you be fulfilled always in your life’s giving to others… for what you give remains and is immortal.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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