TODAY is the International Day of Peace!
This is the 4th article in a series to highlight what each of us can do to bring more peace to our world.
- The first three articles are linked at the bottom of this post.
I’m honored to include the post below from Jane Perdue, the CEO/Principal at Braithwaite Innovation Group, a friend and one of the co-author’s of the book, The Character-Based Leader… Instigating A Leadership Revolution… One Person at a Time.
I live in Charleston, South Carolina. In just a few days this past summer, my heart went from being broken by a senseless crime motivated by hate to being uplifted by people choosing to forgive, not fight or retaliate. Given my awe and respect at how my community handled this tragedy, Chery’s invitation to write about how leaders can limit division and create peace was incredibly serendipitous.
Retaliation and revenge are powerful motivators. We want to right the real or perceived wrong.
Last week, I visited a new friend that has been an expat for about 4 months in a country that is nothing like the one her family comes from.
When her husband accepted the position, they were promised life in a compound – a guarded and gated community with streets, and parks, and amenities that vary depending on your location.
The day before they left home to begin their expat lives, they were informed that there was a housing shortage in the area they were relocating to. (When it was conveniently too late to get their previous jobs back or easily jump back into the life they had.)
So they boarded the plane anyway. (Would you feel slightly trapped?)
And for the past four months the two of them and their young son have been sharing a two-room efficiency apartment. They have a love seat in their little kitchen and all three of them share a bedroom with their son’s toys. While their shipment of household items sits in storage.
Since their arrival they’ve been advised that it will probably take a year before they can be moved onto a compound, and presented with one alternative that gives them some immediate choices for housing but removes other benefits that they had counted on.
My friend’s situation is mild in comparison to her neighbors:
Once upon a time, I hired a fun-loving woman with great recommendations, strong experience, and impressive tenure. (True Story!)
Not long after she joined our team she began to struggle. Things that she thought would be easy to learn were harder than normal, which chewed away at her confidence, which made it even harder to learn, which ate away even more confidence. Sometimes when we spoke privately, tears flowed.
At one point she shared that in her last role she was so confident that she would put on a pink feather boa. And when she wore it – everyone knew a special announcement was going to be made. Here she wanted to be her authentic self, but was afraid…
Each time we spoke, I would remind her:
- She was grieving. (She had just left a role that she knew backwards and forwards and upside down in a place where she felt understood, appreciated and loved and moved and started a new job.)
- She really was smart, capable, fun and wanted!
- She was focusing more on her mistakes and emotions than on what she knew she could bring and that was causing her to struggle harder.
I grew up in a little town in North Dakota, where we had four very distinct seasons. My favorite as a child was summer – because I absolutely love being in the water!
It was refreshing, peaceful, freeing, great exercise and fun!
Unless we were camping by the lake… We would pedal our bicycles to the pool multiple times every single day. In the morning for an hour of lessons, then for three hours of open swimming in the afternoon and occasionally in the evening for another two – three hours of playing in the water!
If gills or a mermaid tail had been an option I would have them!
A few years ago I met a young woman that loved being in the water even more than I do. As a child she was on swim teams and lived in the pool. But at a very young age she was diagnosed with a disease that has impacted her body a lot like ALS.
Sooner or later we will all find ourselves in a situation where we could be leading up…
- And will will need to choose to either accept what is happening, speak for change, or move on.
Each time I find myself in that situation the words below grow more powerful…
God grant me…
The serenity to accept the things I cannot change.
The courage to change those I can.
And the wisdom to know the difference..
Last week I read a very powerful article by Alli Polin that emphasized how leadership thrives when two people work closely together and titles don’t matter.