While I have had the incredible privilege to know and work with a handful of government leaders as well as a few billionaires let me be clear, it was an incredible privilege NOT because of the wealth and power these individuals have amassed but the deep wisdom and lessons learned they over time have injected into me.
As I am sure many of you likely have heard, with enormous power comes enormous responsibility. Think of a life filled with endless important, big, stressful decisions. Decisions that could not only negatively impact you and the people you care about, but also the lives of hundreds of thousands, even millions. This daily pressure and the magnitude of difficult challenges many of these people face I believe, we the masses, truly don’t fully comprehend.
And while I suppose we can put those challenges into a category I will call “good problems” (the kind of problems supposedly many would like to have) let me share with you this… they are problems all the same and require a special someone to lead in the “right way” to solve them. That “right way”, as I have come to learn from my relationship with these people, is much more of a daily regimented practice in Being than Doing.
Let’s look at perhaps one the very best who understood this and practiced what I call better being daily! Marcus Aurelius – Caesar of Rome – commonly practiced BEING a better person and developed many techniques to be that better leader, better person. Here’s a practice all you leaders might want to incorporate into your daily regimen.
In a volume entitled “Meditations” Marcus Aurelius wrote, “When force of circumstance upsets your equanimity, lose no time in recovering your self-control and do not remain out of tune longer than you can help. Habitual recurrence to harmony will increase your mastery of it.”
In other words people, leaders in positions of enormous power and authority are humans too. They endure difficult day after difficult day – deal with fires, conflict and perhaps the most difficult of all… lose lose situations. As human beings these leaders, just like anyone, feel immense stress, anger and frustration.
However, truly great leaders know how to quickly get themselves emotionally back to an empowered state of mind and presence faster than most. Why? They have to! People want to be inspired by their leaders.
We want them to be the example for us all in how to act and react in the most difficult of circumstances.
Now that I have created this awareness in you, I invite you to practice this daily with yourself. (Marcus Aurelius called it the “Equanimity Game”)
The next time something difficult, frustrating or even terrible happens in your day… PAUSE. Be aware. Tell yourself that the best leaders, the most successful people in life get back to center faster.
They realize that it is in “center” or in the place of equanimity where you make better decisions. It is there where people appreciate you the most, respect you the most and will do the most for you. It is when you are beautifully centered where people find and FEEL your spark. Your special gift.
So again, practice this. Pause. Take a slow deep breath in. A long breath out. (In on 4, out on 6)
Again, in on 4 and out on 6.
This time (during this second inhale and exhale) shift in your mind from negative expectation to positive. Imagine that a solution will appear. After all, it usually does. Feel that excitement.
Now a third time… in on 4, out on 6.
This time imagine the best possible outcome… that out of this challenge or problem, a valuable lesson will be learned that will propel you from where you are right now, to something better.
And, speaking of something better… If you can muster up the discipline to practice “being” better daily, I promise you, you and everything around you will be better for it.
Andrew Kolikoff, Servant Sales & Leadership Coach
Andrew is a sales and customer retention innovator, leadership development and culture coach, public speaker, and author.
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