Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Rhythms of Life and Leadership

Some weeks are more difficult than others. That’s just a fact of life. It’s a fact of our leadership life as well. Sometimes problems and issues seem to pile up without an end in sight. Luckily, there are also weeks during which it feels as if everything is going our way and will keep doing so through the future.

The true fact of life, however, is captured in this story of a king asking his chief philosopher to find him a sentence that is true in every circumstance. After much research and thought, the philosopher brought the king this one sentence – “This, too, shall pass.”

Those endless weeks of problems will eventually pass. So too will the good times. The important question for leaders and for all of us in our lives thus becomes, “what will you do in the mean time?” In other words, ‘how do you handle right now?”

This week has been an example of topsy-turvey reality. The beginning of the week was a great trip to an interesting city to attend a professional conference that was fun both personally and professionally. Then I came home to the hard reality that it was time for our 13-year-old Golden Retriever, Millie, to leave us.

In my leadership life there are still tasks to be done and commitments to be kept. And yet, in my daily life, I also need to take time to grieve and to miss Millie. It’s a time to practice leadership tasks that often get overlooked – asking for help and taking care of oneself. Some things can wait and friends and colleagues can handle others if only I’m willing to ask. The time for grieving will pass and later, I’ll be in a position to understand and to help someone else.

Leadership and life both require an understanding of the rhythms of work and fun, of the cycles of good times and difficult ones, and the reality that each day will bring something new. Learning to be in sync with these realities, these rhythms is both the dance of leadership and the dance of life.

Take care,


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