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Note to Self: Some Truths for Leaders

None of us truly knows the future. Those who have guessed right are thought to be sages or wizards; the world forgets all of their wrong guesses. Our responsibility is to our higher power or higher values and our mission. Our duty is to earnestly pursue our mission each day, with heart, hard work, and goodwill. Correspondingly, we merit grace.

But, this natural attraction collapses if the leader shifts mission to being self-absorbed — about me, not we — “selling it” as leadership. The correlation of grace, with a higher purpose, right effort, and integrity, is valid at every level of “leadership.” Personal greed promotes group disengagement. Yet, the most clever rationalization for self-absorption eventually is deemed counterfeit; “truth will out.”

We are blessed if our mission is about earnestly serving the interests of others. I am referring to a purpose that uplifts the world, which is fair and reciprocal. Such missions grow in power as good and goodness circulate through reciprocity and collaborative teamwork.

I am particularly impressed when I see people in this adult state. More often, we behave like adolescents, struggling with trauma, anxiety, and selfishness. The adult state is impressive when I witness it in board rooms, CEOs, and C-Suites. There, it is exceptional, unusual — and worthy of emulation.

If we can live in a state of inspiration that is more powerful and sustaining than our days of despair, we will solve the riddle of personal happiness, and uplift our world. If we led this way, the disengagement in the American workplace (approximately 70%, ref: Gallup) would shrink, employment turnover would recede, and core human values and brilliance would find the light.

The historical record and personal happiness favor the adult.

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