Maintaining Balance in Your Life by Linda Hatcher
Welcome to 2008! May it be a different year; the kind we all keep saying we will finally have. One in which we set and keep important resolutions that enrich our family, friends, and workplaces. One in which we achieve remarkable strides in our personal development and potential. One in which we feel like we have really had a FULL and productive year.
There is a beautiful, haunting story told in the book Callings, quoting the autobiography of Nikos Kazantzakis (author of Zorba the Greek) about the day he came upon a butterfly trying to emerge from its cocoon. The creature had made a tiny hole and was struggling to enlarge its escape hatch. Kazantzakis was impatient for the butterfly to come out, so he breathed on the sac, succeeding in hastening the process. “The butterfly, however, emerged prematurely, its wings hopelessly crumpled and stuck to its own body, which needed the sun’s patient warmth, not the man’s impertinent breath, to transform it. Moments later, after a desperate struggle, the butterfly died in the palm of his hand.” (1)
Maybe it is our approach that keeps the calendars flipping mercilessly by with resolutions unfulfilled, promise unrealized. This year we have two articles to help you look at 2008 with a focused, practical lens to help make this THE year where our actions, plans, and richness of balance between work and personal lives make us truly feel we maximized the next 12 months.
Perhaps if we look at our declarations and goals as questions, we will better find the answers we need to ride the waves of fast-moving time, not be ambushed by them. That is the premise of “Questions Are the Answers.” (CLICK HERE). Questions are a great tool of reflection not used nearly enough to mine the richness the ensuing answers that emerge. Often with surprising and inspiring revelations which, like the butterfly, can only emerge, not be forced.
In another article, “Personal Balance: Make it Resolution One in 2008,” CLICK HERE, we present snapshots from top leaders about how they achieve a satisfying balance between work and life. “Stress affects all aspects of life,” says Bruce Cryer, Director of HeartMath, an organization with tools to reduce organizational and personal stress. This article quotes CEO’s and other leaders who have found some practical tools to use in the inevitably stressful and imbalanced times.
Defining Leadership: A friend of mine characterizes leaders simply like this: "Leaders do not inflict pain. They bear pain." Max DePree
Inspiring Leadership Quote: “The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can not blow an uncertain trumpet.” Theodore M. Hesburgh
LEADER OF THE MONTH:
Kenneth Chenault, CEO American Express
Among the annual winners of the Center for Creative Leadership and U.S. News World & World Reports top leaders of the year is Kenneth Chenault, leader of American Express. Not only has he led the company through unhappy customers and an inherited bad junk bonds, he also was an ethical, solid force of leadership during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York, during which American Express lost 11 employees. He is known for his steely work ethic and his integrity. “You can not manage by manual; you have to manage by values and beliefs," he notes. He adds that leaders define reality and give hope. As to leading well during the 9-11 crises, and in subsequent challenges like slashed work force, he says: "reputations are made or lost during times of crisis. (2)
Through it all, Chenault knows what to focus upon: "I want to win every day in the marketplace," he says. But "I want people to say that Ken Chenault is a person who, while he is focused on winning, he did so with the highest level of integrity."
FEATURED LEADERSHOP ITEMS OF THE MONTH
SUBLIMATED PLAQUE WITH CLOCK: A lovely way to remind any leader the most critical component of reaching goals: time properly used.
OUR CLASSIC LEADERSHIP DUO: Secrets of Effective Leadership and Spirit of Leadership; books that will help you stay focused on the proper ethical principles to achieve your goals.
1) Callings, Gregg Levoy, Three Rivers Press, New York, 1998
2) Useem, Michael, The ultimate trial by fire, U.S. News & World Report, Posted Nov. 12, 2007