Every November brings gratitude to the forefront. It is not a bad thing to focus on something so powerful with a renewed sense of intention but it often leaves a feeling of superficiality and emptiness and I know I can do better.
As I sat down to write this month’s article, I didn’t want it to be canned along the lines of: Leaders Need An Attitude of Gratitude, How to Become A Better Leader, The Appreciation Nation. What I found when I started my research was the story of an astounding leader that lives the depth of her gratitude practice far beyond November. It all started when I typed “gratitude with a twist” into my search window.
As I read the story of Lynne Twist told by Conscious Company , I was completely mesmerized. While Twist has dedicated her life to ending world hunger and a sustainable, socially just presence on this planet, the words that lifted off the page for me were timeless leadership tenets:
1. Live a Committed Life
“I’m grateful to have commitments that are bigger than my little life starring me, and that has given me a path that has been a great gift.”
2. Leadership Goes Beyond Work
“If you’re a leader, you’re leading even when you don’t want to. Much of leadership is the way you live, the way you speak, the way you think, the way you behave, the way you are. To be a conscious leader is to have integrity with all aspects of your life. When you’re having a bad day and you don’t feel like leading, you’re leading others to have a bad day and not feel like leading. You can’t not lead when you’re a leader. You’re modeling all the time.”
3. Leadership is Deeply Rooted in Humanity
“I don’t consider that I have what you might call a private space to be grumpy or ornery. I don’t think I have that right, and I love that about being a conscious or committed leader. I love that the scope of my leadership encompasses my personal life. Now some people wouldn’t agree with that and argue that we all need private time. And I have that too, but even there, I feel I don’t have the right, really, to be small and petty and inappropriate, because that’s inconsistent with what I’m standing for. So the constant challenge of a conscious leader is to be internally and externally consistent with the stand you’ve taken, internally and externally authentic, and constantly expressing yourself in a way that continues to develop not only your leadership skills, but your skills to be an ever more effective human being.”
4. Align your Actions with your Dreams
“People can’t change their everyday actions without changing what they’re dreaming for. You actually need to change the dream.”
5. A Leaders Legacy Goes Beyond their Identity
“I think a conscious leader is also someone who’s committed to something way larger than their own life, way larger than their own company, committed to some stand or vision greater than they can accomplish in their lifetime so their identity isn’t based in it. Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela and Jane Goodall and the people we truly admire are up to something larger than their own life, and their life is a contribution to that continuum rather than their identity.”
6. Leaders Create Possibility
“Also as a leader, it’s my job to create possibility in every situation. Not just positive thinking, not a Pollyanna hug, smoothing over things that aren’t working. Generate possibility. See possibility. Find the goal. Find the teaching. Find the love. Find the joy in everything.”
Twist was at Nelson Mandela’s inauguration. She worked at the feet of Mother Teresa. She witnessed the last day of the Apartheid. All of these experiences aligned because of her commitment, “to constantly do everything I can to facilitate the reallocation of the world’s financial resources away from fear and towards love.”
As I wrote this time last year in my article, Gratitude is a Serious Business, “Gratitude is not an expression, it is a feeling that enables humans to remember, even in the face of uncertainty and suffering, that goodness exists and from that place, to give thanks.”
Legendary leadership, rooted in humanity, that elevates all living things and aligns actions and dreams through generating possibility and spreading love – Just the Twist I was looking for this November and beyond. How about you?