I was asked to give a talk to a class about my personal leadership journey, and how I did it with ingenuity and love.
It wasn’t easy, and there were times when I wasn’t thinking at all whether that was ingenuity, or love. Or what I was doing.
I felt I just had to move forward, all the while making a deep impact on other people.
In the process, having to make a deep impact on my life first.
How did I do it? And how can you be able to do it?
The class was based on Chris Lowney’s book, Heroic Leadership, which recounts the leadership pillars which lent success to the Society of Jesus, and how those pillars and lessons can be used in other scenarios.
I read the book years before, and admittedly, have not been able to make full use of the lessons contained. Upon re-reading the book, and comparing that to my life’s journey, I found that I was able to make great progress with ingenuity and love.
Ingenuity – Take the plunge
Ingenuity, according to the book, is this:
Ingenuity is the readiness to cross the world at a moment’s notice in full-hearted pursuit of a good opportunity, the willingness to to work without a script and to dream up imaginative new approaches to problems that have stymied others, and is the creative embrace of new ideas and foreign cultures.
Looking back, in order to become a better person, and to move forward, I had to “cross the world.”
For me, this meant changing careers, getting a bearings on where I was, recognizing that place wasn’t where I wanted to be, and to forcibly move myself to where I wanted to go, despite the pain and discomfort.
Why the pain and discomfort? Because I had become comfortable and settled with the person that I was, and I felt the pain of trying and possibly failing wasn’t worth it.
What the definition of Ingenuity is also saying – that to be ready to cross the world at a moment’s notice to take advantage of a good opportunity, you have to be brutally honest with yourself with where you are, and you have to be willing to let go of what you have now. You’ve got to be indifferent to losing and letting go.
So in order to get to where I am right now, I had to leave the old me behind.
At one time, I felt I was going to be a teacher. Let go of that.
At one time, I felt that by putting up a business, I’d be successful. Automatically. I put up two. Failed miserably. Let go of that (for the time being), while I’m still looking for another approach for this goal.
At one time, I felt I would hold a job forever, and I found a job helping family. After that, I also found a job in an NGO for a livelihood rehabilitation program. Very noble, but had to let go of those as well.
Now, I’m doing coaching, training, and writing, and to be able to do all of that, I had to let go of who I was before, a lot of my ineffective beliefs, thoughts, and habits.
And by leaving things behind, you get to build new things in its place.
Love – vision, courage, passion, commitment
Love, as Lowney writes in the book:
Loyola was saying – first, look at self; then regard others. No one perceives others accurately without first achieving healthy self-regard. Appreciate your potential, unique talent, and fundamental human dignity. Then see others, their birthright nothing less than the very same human dignity.
“Love yourself first, before you can love others.”
And, as I stumbled on my mission to make a deep impact on the lives of people, I realized that I not only had to become the person capable of that.
And even learn to love all that I was, and all that I had.
In my journey, I was so focused on loving others, in the hopes of them loving me back, that I neglected to love myself.
So what happened?
Every time I made a mistake, I saw that as a failure, a label on me and my absolute abilities.
I beat myself up, and was so negative about what I could do and my possibilities.
I couldn’t forgive myself. I was so hard on myself.
To move forward, I had to love – myself.
And when I began to accept myself, with all the shortcomings and flaws that I had, did I have an easier time letting go of all of them, and begin becoming a better person.
It’s ironic. Love doesn’t care whether what you have is bad or good. All it cares is if you’re willing to love and choose yourself despite all of that.
And whether you choose to love or not.
How have you moved forward with ingenuity and love? Please share in the comments below!