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In Defense of Hard Work

In Defense of Hard WorkI’ve lived, learned and worked on the planet for a long time. One beautiful occurrence I note each day is the synthesis of lots of learning and lots of experience. And as a woman, mother, grandmother, friend, aunt, teacher, executive coach, reader, writer, entrepreneur, world traveler, neighbor – and more – those experiences come from many different streams of life. Like the many streams that ultimately become the ocean (and come from it) learning and living make for a delicious flow. And this flow impacts the work I do with leaders.

I love working with leaders – passionate, intelligent, ambitious, resourceful. I support them by offering up much of what I’ve synthesized in this long journey to NOW! What I cannot offer are easy solutions or quick fixes. Instead, I offer hard work!

These days lots of advice comes in the form of 10 Easy Steps or The 3 Secrets to Success, etc. etc. I don’t buy into that model of support. Its outside everything I know about living into a conscious, intention oriented existence that contributes to the planet.

This being human is complicated, mysterious and wondrous – but not without struggle. In my experience, those willing to take up the challenges, fail, get up and go on, make the best leaders. Why?

They grow compassion – empathy with each failure. They grow resilience. There courage increases tenfold each time they get up and try something else. They utilize feedback and leave the self-hatred on the cutting room floor. And they lead by inspiring others with their vulnerability and strength.

In my 66 years on planet earth, I’ve met so many people. I take time out occasionally though at regular intervals, to reflect on who has influenced and inspired me. And I sit in my deep well of gratitude.

Some peeps inspired by example and some by example of how not to be. All were teachers who taught me, and today, while I don’t value one type of teacher over another, I have had my preferences.

And circumstances change. Life is too dynamic an event to chain with rules. It is our creative responses to what shows up that is a measure of our epth, our leadership, our self-mastery.

“If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to. If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve. – Lao Tzu

Who has filtered down through the years as a valuable, precious teacher to me, are the people who acted with courage despite their fears, shared their vulnerability despite their strengths, stayed their course in the face of thorns and sorrows, spoke truth as they understood it, knew the real work was on themselves, and encouraged others sometimes with kindness, sometimes with challenge – knowing what was needed, when.

They are the heroines and heroes I look to when I think about leadership. They live outside the bounds of 10 easy steps and 3 secrets to success – as they live in complexity. They are always uncovering more and more of themselves, not settling for the smaller version.

No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you’ve come from, you can always become a better version of yourself.” – Madonna

I do not believe in shortcuts in a meaningful life – only on my computer and perhaps, when I’m cooking. And though I love shortcuts, actually feel like I’m secretly victorious when using them, I know better than to assume there are easy solutions or quick fixes to what really matters. And so I don’t offer them in my work with leaders – seasoned or beginning.

Developing into the kind of person who can say at the end of a career, or better still, at the end of a life, that the journey was a well worn and challenging path, on which we struggled and also rejoiced, fell down many times but got up more and offered something of ourselves to the world, mostly holding hands, well – that hard work is what I’m talking about.

Won’t you join me on that path? There’s always a free hand ready to take yours.

Posted in Making Positive Shift

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