Life Lessons Made Easy

One of the greatest challenges any leader who truly cares about those around him faces is helping those for whom he is responsible to overcome mental, moral or emotional weaknesses that are preventing the full expression of their inner perfection. This responsibility devolves upon leaders of all stripes – parents, teachers, managers and more – and it requires a deft handling and heightened sensitivity to the factors and pressures at play.

As a leader you always hope that those under your care learn their lessons swiftly, with as little discomfort as possible and with minimal collateral damage, but every once in a while the factors align in such a way that enlightenment comes slowly. Stubbornness, confusion, evasion, chronic refusal to correct the matter and hundreds of other complicating factors might stand in the way of the individual realizing the err of his ways swiftly, let alone the presence, opinions and reactions of others around, whether or not they are directly involved.

These are the most painful lessons for all involved. They are drawn out. They are messy. Inordinate amounts of pressure are required to pierce the veil which hangs between the individual as he now is and the individual he should be. These are the least pleasant moments, but they are often the most critical. True leaders stand guard at these junctures, ready to say “thus far and no further” to those who carry limitations unnecessarily and willfully towards the point of no return. These are the times where steadiness, poise and pure-heartedness are often in short supply, but great demand.

A true friend and a true leader accepts you as you are in the short-term, while always expecting and encouraging the highest and finest of which you are capable. True leaders do their best to help you move past the obstacles and weaknesses you face and possess, whether or not you see them yourself, and they do so as invisibly as possible.

Leaders who do not possess self-confidence will push and demand with great bluster, making a show of their position or a display of the supposed strength that comes from their relative position of authority, while those who have truly accepted their mantle of natural, inherent greatness do not flaunt their authority or wave it over the heads of those for whom they are responsible.

Life lessons needn’t all be painful. The old adage “no pain no gain” is a lie as I have seen many life-changing lessons work out with the greatest of ease. Such changes require a practiced humility that does not temper but magnifies the expression of power that comes from within, as well as the willingness to admit to yourself that you were wrong, repent deeply (and more often than not privately) and move on, never to repeat the same mistake twice.

There is little value in being a “drama queen,” a state of consciousness that places a premium on angst and a discount on righteousness. If you are to be effective in living, effective as followers and eventually effective as leaders in the world you center, you must come to the point where you are willing to let go of the childish tendencies of pushing everything to the limit, being coy to avoid owning up to a weakness and allowing for the obvious adjustment that must be made along the way. When you make this change in yourself, the refiner’s fire is no longer something to be feared, it is where you live.

And when you live there, you can invite those around you to follow. Believe it or not, most people do not recognize their own weaknesses and faults and you are wise to approach them first and foremost in the spirit of forgiveness. Do so in the cool of the evening as well as the heat of the day and your example will shine brightly to others. Your life will be a beacon of sanity in a world of chaos. And before you know it, you become the leader you were born to be.

8 thoughts on “Life Lessons Made Easy

  1. There are many wonderful examples of Leadership available to all of us to research, study and to learn from, and you have just made a major contribution to them Gregg. Perhaps a good starting point for all of us to discover our own areas of Leadership would be a genuine desire to be of value to others.

    One of the characteristics of Genuine Leadership that I have noted is a deep belief in the goodness and capabilities of others. When you mention that “expecting and encouragement” are traits of leadership, I have to absolutely agree! What an incredible difference those two characteristics can and do make to others. And a part of expectation is to not only expect others to do well, but more significantly to aspire to that which they are capable of.

    In my experience a True Leader not only has high expectations to, as an example, do a great job, but more significantly to become a truly great person. It is this expectation that can and does make a positive difference in the world.

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  2. Colin

    When you allow yourself to be governed by love, as we discussed yesterday, but also to be a follower of the truth, you should have the strength to be in the position that today’s post describes. We must always remember that this is the position of strength. It takes much more to be the leader who makes things look easy, who helps his people in a quiet but very effective way. It takes much less strength to be the blustering type of leader, because that type of leader is stealing the power from the followers he cows.

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  3. Ricardo B.

    I can appreciate all the more the timing that’s involved for living effectively. Timing involves sensitivity to the various personal and environmental elements that are always in play. For instance, you mention “the cool of the evening, the heat of the day” – I take that to be to choose your moments wisely in the instruction of corrections and adjustments through one’s leadership. Sometimes things are too heated, too stirred up for you to do anything effective about it – say if your colleague is too worked up to think straight – and perhaps best to let things simmer down. Other times the peak of the heat is in fact the best time, for the pressure has reached its max and there’s your access you have not had before. All these permutations simply need to be learned in time, and one is ever so fortunate to be under the tutelage of a wise leader for you to learn the ropes in being a good student, well, a good follower.
    In the days of yore, most people learned through various apprenticeships, and for years teacher and student were entwined in a disciplined exchange where through careful guidance, shaping and pruning, the student emerges as the full revelation of his or her potential. Today things are different, where the most people tend to follow is on Twitter!
    All joking aside, in my opinion, it is one’s great fortune to be a student and follow, for however long it takes, any and all presences in one’s life which show worthiness to be a teacher. You will sniff them out easily enough, who these people are in your life. You are drawn to them, yet they don’t necessarily make you feel comfortable – that’s good because you’ve got something to learn! And the wolves? Well, these carry pretense and ulterior motives, and keeping a heart pure, living righteously, is the best radar for these paper- mâchéd fascimiles.
    Gotta love this post! Thanks Gregg!

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  4. Vincent

    Leadership is a complex issue, but such a central one. On the one hand there are objectives to be attained and purposes to be fulfilled, while on the other hand there is the need to work effectively to maximize the strengths and minimize the weaknesses of those who compose the team being led. Some weaknesses (as well as strenghts) are no doubt inherent in the ones involved; others are better described as flaws, often unrecognized by the people themselves. To encourage and assist, to compensate, to correct and to block exits where required, to challenge without jeapardizing the whole project… these are skills that take both time and wisdom fo develop.

    I appreciate your meditations on this vital subject, Gregg. The content of this blog is a daily inspiration to continue to develop crucial leadership skill.

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  5. Lady Leo

    Having a friend that loves you but instead of it being “inspite” of weakness, encourages you to change, is a gift. It’s also a two way street. By surrounding ourselves with friends that aspire to their higher selves we are more likely to feel the discomfit of our own weaknesses. The bar is naturally raised and exposes the attitudes or strategies that are immature. It’s not like working on each other; it creates a pressure, it is more working on yourself. Yet as you say, there maybe times “drawing the line” is required, then hopefully there is enough love and mutual respect to help the changes come, assisting each other to live lives that are constantly evolving…onward and upward.
    Good subject, it requires humility and forgiveness, thanks.

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