The connection point between the work I do and why I do it is a love of people and what’s possible when they transform.
Listening to challenges they’ve endured and witnessing them turn that hardship with courage into an opportunity has me recognize how much of life’s meaning is created when we do good for others.
On September 10th, 2001, I arrived at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. I was excited about the new cadre of supervisors who were recently promoted and getting to teach a class on executive communication.
The next morning as I got ready for class I had no idea how my life would change.
Because I don’t own a television and rarely listen to the radio, when we pulled up to the guard booth at FLETC, I wasn’t aware that the United States of America was under siege from a terrorist attack.
Watching the planes fly into the buildings I worked in was surreal as I knew there was no going back: my world and everyone’s world, would be changed forever.
Some of my colleagues were talkative, and most were silent. Many stepped outside to call their loved ones, telling them they were safe.
The instructors tried to hold class, however, the calls kept coming in.
I received one from my partner sharing that my mentor had been killed.
Looking back, the greatest emotion I felt that day was not the shock or even the horror that it happened, rather it was the love, and the outpouring of love for me.
Family members, friends, and acquaintances from college reached out over the next 24 – 48 hours checking in to see if I was alright.
With each person, I could recall the moments where and when life brought us together and we made a bigger difference. I thought back to the impact of the words that were spoken or actions taken.
I realized, it’s people and their stories that matter. What we’ve done together and what we’ve overcome. Acknowledging these experiences, allows us to honor ourselves and each other. They are testaments of purpose.
The best leaders get that in order to stay engaged and excited about their work, they need to include spending time with people and doing good for others.
My daily inquiry is, “How can I be a force for good on the planet today? What is mine to do?”
Understanding that you matter to others and make a difference just by your being alive is only part of the equation. Being of service to others also allows you and them to move past challenging circumstances.
- So, what does leadership mean to you?
- How do you show up in service every day? What are the results for each party (including you) involved?
- And, how often do you say “thank you” to the people you love?
ACTION: The Upside Challenge of the week is to pause and appreciate the work you do and why you do it. Identify the best way to be of service throughout the year that would best put to use and thereby honor your gifts, abilities and talents. Will you make a commitment to do it?
The world needs you and your brilliance now more than ever.