How Do You Walk in the World?
“Did you leave a trail of kindness behind you today?” Ever since a colleague shared this wonderful phrase, it has become a guiding light. Think about it. If we were to engage with everyone this way, wouldn’t our time here be well-lived?
Because, whether we care to admit it or not, we always know who we’re being on the inside – deep down. About both the visible and invisible moments of truth (when nobody is looking), Jon Kabat Zinn reminds us, “no matter where you go, there you are.” Yes, it is a choice whether to leave a trail of kindness or destruction in your wake.
It’s About Your Personal Leadership
And, personal leadership has nothing to do with your title or job responsibilities. You can be a CEO or President without acquiring followers. Or, you can hold a non-managerial title and yet engage everyone by walking your talk.
So, what creates the magic? The answer lies in your personal integrity, vision and values. Position power doesn’t cut it. Personal power does. It’s about the all-important “how”. Sure, you can achieve a great “what” (i.e. results) but if these come at the cost of beleaguered colleagues and toxic interactions, you’d have to question the ultimate accomplishment. No?
The Top Ten List
More specifically, personal leadership is about uplifting others and igniting their enthusiasm. It’s about consistently living your principles. It’s about accountability for how you walk in the world.
So, here’s my invitation: Please consider this Top Ten list as the secrets for being an inspiring personal leader in business and in life.
- Be authentic. Drop your masks. Model openness and sincerity.
- Accept that “how we really are around here” starts with you.
- Think of yourself as a “servant” to others rather than “what’s in it for me”.
- Build relationships by making time to get to know people as individuals.
- Bring out the best in others by recognizing their unique talents and gifts.
- Catch your team mates doing something right – not wrong.
- Be courageous and engage in tough conversations by fostering truth-telling.
- Ask questions to understand – not to ram your views down others’ throats.
- Even when disagreeing, find sources of commonality.
- Remember what’s really important in life by maintaining a sense of balance…for not even the most entrenched workaholic wishes they had worked more on their deathbed.
We stand at a hugely transformational time in history. Imagine what could happen across the planet if we listened with a generosity that dignifies the individual. What forces for good could be unleashed if we promoted one another’s self-actualization? All is possible when we encourage others’ vast potential – mining their in-born wisdom.
The way I see to tap into this powerful time is to become that personal leader who transforms the workplace by leaving a trail of kindness wherever you go. Each of us is 100% responsible for our impact on others. Remember…people will forget a lot of what you tell them, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
Until next time, let me leave you with a parting question that may make all the difference in the path you forge from today forward:
What if you considered every interaction with the people in your life to be your last? How would that thought change the quality of your relationships?