“Life is a great adventure or it’s nothing!” -Helen Keller
I’ve always loved this quote by Helen Keller. Years ago as I began my leadership journey I found these words very inspiring! In fact my wife, Christie and I had cards made up with our job description being “Adventurers”. As my journey continued, I came to the realization that the greatest adventure in life was exploring who I was and what my purpose in life actually was. It’s been an adventurous exploration and not always one I have enjoyed, but as I spend more time understanding the rhythm of life I realize that each piece has been a divinely orchestrated puzzle. A puzzle designed to help me become the best version of myself and understand my true purpose in life.
That is why I call this blog, Adventures in Healthy Leadership. I’m just fascinated with the idea that “Life is a great adventure or it’s nothing!” and the greatest adventure of all is knowing your purpose, growing to your potential and sowing the seeds of possibilities. In other words, becoming the best version of yourself that you can ultimately be.
For years I’ve developed and taught what I believe are the 7 Pillars of Healthy Leadership and so I thought I would share the foundational principles with you today and expound in greater detail in future blogs.
Pillar #1-Harmony: We have heard for centuries that life is about the quest for balance in our lives. Yet I believe that what will give us fulfillment is understanding that perfect balance is elusive and what our ultimate quest should be is, Harmony. The awareness that for most of our life, we are out of balance in the significant areas of life and that is OK. It’s being comfortable knowing that if, for example, you are making a career change, you are going to be focused on your new career for awhile. It’s understanding that perhaps your physical life or relationships may suffer short-term, but you and your family are OK with this short-term imbalance. This is being in harmony with your life. It’s also important that a truly healthy leader recognizes that he must help others create a harmonious life and not be the creator of stress and anxiety in others.
Pillar #2- Energy: For most of the latter part of the 20th century, the guru’s of the personal development industry, blasted the airwaves stating that TIME was our greatest asset. That we only had so much of it and success was built on proper management of the 24 hours we had been given. Today, it’s a given that you must know how to invest the hours and minutes in each day. It’s all we have, it’s our gift, that’s why they call it The Present. But the reality is, that nothing great has every been accomplished by low energy individuals. So what is your ROE? Your Return on Energy! When are you most productive, when you have excess energy or when you have none? I love the statement that, “capacity is a state of mind.” While this statement is true, it’s also a function of how we feed not only our minds but also our bodies. How do we take care of this body we’ve been given? Do we treat it as a God-given temple or a teepee? It’s a choice isn’t it?
Pillar #3-Attitude: it’s not everything but it plays a tremendous part in every successful life. What condition is yours in? The principles of successful living are no different today then they were thousands of years ago, and having a positive mental attitude is one of the solid pillars of every healthy leader. In leadership we must first lead ourselves before others will follow. We are the living billboards of the message we hope to convey to the rest of the world.
Pillar #4-Love: If we are going to be the billboards for healthy leadership, we must love the people we are associated with and let them know that they are important to us. This may be your family, friends, business associates, and yes, even those you dislike. I admittedly have struggled with this over the years, but I’m getting better at realizing how important everyone is who has ever entered my life. Each person is my teacher and I the student.
Pillar #5-Time: Yes, admittedly I said earlier that energy was more important than time (by the way, feel free to discuss any of these ideas, pro or con in the comment section below. I will gladly get involved in the discussion), but healthy leaders understand that how time is allocated is critical. The question I love is, “What do I need to say NO to, in order to make room for what I should say YES to?”
Pillar #6-Humor: In our society today, we have created far too much chaos and not enough laughter. We take ourselves too seriously and don’t see how humorous much of what we do is. I mean, comedians make entire careers out of real life situations that have us laughing uncontrollably. So why not slow down, and realize how funny we really are as a species. Laughter truly is the best medicine. I love to hear children laugh don’t you? Norman Cousins, cured himself of a serious ailment by locking himself in his room and watched funny videos. Why is it, that over the years, some of the oldest entertainers have been comedians? I love to hear my wife laugh, it’s infectious. So seek out more experiences in life to lighten your spirit. Happiness is a choice!
Pillar #7-Youthfulness: Many people ask me, “Greg, where did you grow up?” and I proudly say, “I have made the decision to get older and take on adult responsibilities but NEVER GROW UP!” or ” I was raised in Southern California, but I have decided to NEVER GROW UP!” I want to maintain a connection with my inner child until the day the Good Lord calls me home. It’s just a lot more fun to live life that way. Many people get old at 25 and many 80-90 year olds maintain their youthful exuberance.
And the GREATEST Pillar of all is to maintain a solid Spiritual Connection. It is absolutely your lifeline. None of the toys or money you collect are going with you on your final adventure so begin to focus on the people in your life and what kind of billboard message you’re conveying.
So my friends, come join me on this adventure in healthy leadership. Lead yourself first, become the best version of you and choose to be happy. In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
Remember, if you haven’t done so yet, subscribe to this blog so you can become an ADVENTURER and get involved in our discussions.