Tuesday, September 26, 2017

True Leadership

Living with ease, grace and joyMy sister Carole studied dance, unlike my brother and me who went to the pinnacle of business success with MBAs from Harvard Business School. Yet throughout her working life, Carole has quietly made a difference as a leader in our family businesses and working for others. For many years she ran Best Regards, our greeting card and gift package retail stores. Yes, it was a small business, employing a few people at any one time. But numerous young people came and went. Carole gave many of them their first jobs, training, developing and nurturing them long after I would have given up on them (frankly speaking).

At Best Regards they got a solid grounding in being loved by their boss (Carole), in loving others – fellow employees and customers and most importantly in loving themselves. I muse on this today as Carole shared this message she received from a beautiful young woman named Rikki, who worked at Best Regards:

“If your ears fall off it’s because I sing your name to everyone I encourage to be better or to not give up when times get hard. I am who I am today because of your love and support. I am so much stronger because you were my guide. Thank you so very much for choosing me Carole. The day you gave me a job you saved my life. You saved my future. Today I step boldly embracing life’s challenges because you loved me. I am a better person because you cared. With all my heart, I love you. I thank you.

Never think you cannot make a difference = always believe you can make a difference!”

What is the meaning of life but to make others lives better for having known you? That’s it. It’s in the daily acts of kindness and love that we help others. And all of us can do this. We don’t have to be the CEO of a large business, or a government minister, or a singer, author, musician or any other profession that we think has influence. We each can make a difference to someone and we can do that every day. We have no idea where and how the seeds of kindness we plant will take root, flourish and spread their own fruit of kindness. So it behooves us to do as the Dalai Lama exhorts: “Be kind whenever possible. And it is always possible”. And that is the essence of true leadership.

 

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