Painter's brushstroke

I can’t think of a more abused/overused word than “leadership.”  So few practice well the ARS DUCENDI (latin for the art of leadership).  Seems like we should shy away from using it.  But, alas, this post isn’t about how to remove a word from our modern lexicon.

I’ve come to a point in my life where I believe that the “art” of leadership is found in integration and balance.  Show me a man or woman who integrates and applies balance to their lives, and I’ll show you someone who understands what true leadership is.  They may not have a title, may not have a corner office, may not rake in tons of dough, but they know and live the art of leadership.

The integration part is when the leader sees all areas of life (eight in my view) as important and therefore worth the time and work needed.  It would be easy here to anoint then as a superhero/heroine.  In a culture like ours (America in my case) we see these folks as superhuman and worthy of worship.  This is a fatal mistake.  We should never allow any human to live out our destiny for us.  As rhetorical as that statement sounds, many people are on the sidelines, content to let someone else play their role.  As you have heard before, only you can be you.

The balance part is a thing of beauty.  I consider it the knowing when to and when not to.  Miles Davis was brilliant at this from a musical standpoint.  He seemed to know that the music was inside him and he needed to get out of the way so that it could flow out.  Balance is found when you know the context and you live accordingly.  For example, you know you’ve hit the point of diminishing return in the workday and your daughter is nudging you to communicate.  You want to tackle one more email, but there she is.  At this point, those who practice balance know it’s time to shut the work down and inject themselves into the life of their daughter.  Like Miles, you get out of the way.

It’s time for you to start your version of ARS DUCENDI.  You can’t ignore it and expect to have a life you want.  Fools have tried and find themselves in the sad state of regret.


5 Things I Haven’t Forgotten


The following are 5 things I haven't forgotten along the way of my travels:

  1. It will be my life that will be measured in eternity.  God won't be spending 60% of his time with me asking about my career and money choices.  It'll be a part of the conversation, just not as big as it often can be in this world.  
  2. Relationships are hard work.  In America, we have this obsession with ease and pleasure.  In some areas this is totally appropriate.  In a relationship (you fill in the blank) ease and pleasure come as a result of the hard work.  It's hard work because anything worth your time should require something big from you.
  3. I can't fix or save anybody.  All I can do is offer with encouragement and kindness.  The choice to do something is totally out of my control.  After watching many of my family members experience the affects of alcohol and drug abuse, I know this well.
  4. Change is a part of life and you'd better be prepared to face ridicule for embracing it.  I never had as much peace as when I was in the box that many had grown comfortable with.  Some of this is people getting used to change, but the remainder is from the "crowd."  I now understand that the two are intertwined.
  5. I don't have to have all the answers.

Seth Godin on Risk and Failure


This interview with Seth Godin will encourage you to try and fail. 

Are you in a workplace where taking a risk and failing are frowned upon?  Do you frown upon it yourself?  Why not begin a small experiment today with risk and failure?  It could liberate you.

In the interview Seth gives some good examples of what a small experiment might look like.  The following are my suggestions:

  • Interact with a client in a different way.  Make a surprise visit to their office and engage with the receptionist and no one else.
  • Sign up for a cooking class, even if you see yourself as a lousy cook.
  • Try something that your kids are good at, but you're not.
  • Suggest a unique place for a work retreat.  Like this spot.
  • Introduce yourself to someone you've never met at work, at school or in your neighborhood.