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Do You or Don't You

Posted on 04 Feb 09

Max DePree, a noted expert on leadership states, “The first role of the leader is to define reality.” This is good - no great -advice. You may have heard the joke that ends - “You can’t get there from here.” The truth is that you can’t get there from here if you don’t know where here is. This is the genius of Mr. DePree’s aforementioned statement - your current reality is the “here.”

If you, like so many others, are standing on the ledge of 2008 and either looking back to yesterday or peering forward to 2009 - let me make one suggestion - STOP! Before doing anything else “define reality.” Seize the moment - the present - here.

Who are you? What is your identity? Do you have peace of mind? Do you want peace of mind? (If no - keep doing what you’re doing because any road will get you there.) Are you making money and having fun? Are the people closest to you benefiting from your fulfillment or are they suffering from your frustrations? Is anyone close to you? In your opinion? In theirs? Is your life balanced?

If I remember the story correctly (this lead in statement saves me much time on research) - St. Francis Assisi was hoeing in his garden when another monk asked, “If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do?” St. Francis looked up and said, “I’d keep hoeing in my garden.” This in my mind is fulfillment - a life lived without regrets - order not chaos - peace of mind - balance.

If your end was near - “Would you keep hoeing?”

Years ago I read the following quote. I can’t remember the source - so I’ll claim it for my people. This is a Cajun Proverb (the Japanese and Chinese have so many already). So from the lips of Dali Confucius Boudreaux I offer you this wisdom:

“Some know not and know not that they know not, shun them they are fools.”

“Some know not and know that they know not, teach them they are students.”

“Some know and know not that they know, wake them - they sleep.”

“Some know and know that they know, follow them they are wise.”

I’m certain that most fools would not read these words of wisdom and if they started the process, they would have already quit so if you’re still reading you’re probably a student, asleep, or a leader. As a practical matter you are probably each of these depending upon the moment or the specific phase of your life you are considering.

At this moment spend time understanding “Who you be?” and worry less about “What to do?” If you are the student - LEARN, if you are asleep - AWAKEN AND LIVE, and if you are wise - LEAD! If you do - 2009 will be Happy!

Mike Manes is the founder of Square One Consulting. Today he works with agents and agencies to facilitate mergers and acquisitions (issues of cultural compatibility), design and coordinate ventures between banks and agencies, develop niche market programs, build marketing networks, etc.

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