Have you considered what impact your actions make?

It has been said that the true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.

Not long ago I received an email from a childhood friend who was in my boy scout troop when I was a teenager. My father had been our scout leader, and in the email Alan passed along a memory:

“Years ago, when we were young scouts, we were hiking and stopped on the edge of a long, steep embankment. Soon we were rolling large boulders down the mountain and watching them as they gathered momentum and bounced out of sight. Your dad came by and gently taught us a life lesson.

He said, “Boys, while what you are doing is exciting and seems to be fun, have you ever considered those who might be on the same trail that you came up and how your actions might be putting them in danger?” Then he quietly walked away.

I thought you might like to know of the positive influence from your dad that remains in my life.”

Since receiving Alan’s email, I have been contemplating carefully the impact of my father on my life and the tree of consideration that he planted under whose shade many of us are now sitting.

The verb consider comes from the Latin for contemplate, and hidden in the word is sid, the Latin root for star. Originally it meant to examine something very thoroughly, or carefully, as if you were staring at the night sky, contemplating its mystery. If you give something consideration, you think about it carefully, and not too quickly. Without consideration, without careful contemplation of how attitudes and actions impact others, long-term consequences can be devastating: homes get broken, groups become marginalized, civility is eroded, and humanity suffers.”

My father was loved by the people he spent time with – in large part because he exhibited this precious human quality of consideration. It came through practice – and from taking the time. Just as the early astronomers didn’t rush their observation of the far-off stars in the night sky so they could better understand what they were observing, we too can invest time in nurturing consideration for the constellation of the people in our lives – and the impact our actions have upon them.

What drives your life? A Phone or a Compass?

It’s been said that the average person will spend up to five years of their life looking at their phone. To me, the phone represents the mountain of success we are climbing. It’s about being driven by the world’s expectations. It’s about appointments, schedules, goals, productivity, and achievements. It’s about comparing ourselves to others, developing a reputation, impression management, keeping score, and measuring up. It’s about defining ourselves by how the world defines us.

And then something unexpected happens to knock us off the mountain. We fall into the valley: a cancer scare, a struggle with addiction, the loss of a loved one, a pandemic, a bankruptcy, a divorce, some life-altering tragedy that was not part of the well-laid-out plan. You suddenly find yourself in a dark trench without the cell service of what the world expects from us. No device can take us out of this kind of terrain. It takes, instead, a surrendering to the great difficulty, allowing the pain, confusion, uncertainty, fear, and insecurity to break us open, so that a stronger, wiser, kinder, and more real person can emerge.

In this unknown territory of darkness, instead of a device, we reach for a compass, an inner guide that initiates a life journey guided by values, purpose, contribution, service, and meaning.

I know the authentic journey is not this clear cut and delineated. It’s more messy. But it’s worth pausing and asking where we are on our path to success and meaning.

What are you focused on? What is driving your life? While being driven by what the world expects and measuring up to the standards of the culture is a necessary stage, the authentic journey (what I call in my book by the same title, The Other Everest) asks us to deepen our lives, to find an inner guide beyond what a device can offer us.

Success, after all, isn’t just about height; it’s also about depth.

What was your annunciation moment?

According to author David Brooks, an annunciation moment is when something sparks your interest, or casts a spell, or arouses a desire that somehow prefigures much of what follows in one’s life.

For many who have found their vocation, there is a defining “annunciation” moment that sets an early direction for their life’s work. In the midst of a vast and noisy world, something inside is quieted and they hear a voice that sparks a desire to explore something and live within it.

The poet, John O’Donohue, expressed these moments as “beautiful places where we felt immediately at home.”

It is embodied in the times when you felt most fulfilled, when you were doing something that felt instinctively effortless, when you felt “immediately at home.”

Two experiences come to my mind. One was listening to Earl Nightingale on the radio while driving to church with my father in our 1964 red Plymouth Valiant station wagon. I was thirteen years old but it became clear to me then that I would be one day be teaching and writing and communicating my ideas to the world.

Around this same time we lived across the road from a family with a volatile, angry, alcoholic father. We could hear the late-night yelling and banging and breaking. Their son would come over and spend time with me the next day. Nothing was said about it. We’d ride horses, explore the caves and the forest together. Although we didn’t talk about it, something inside me knew, before I could even articulate it, that I would one day support people who are dealing with trauma, tragedy, and misfortune in their lives.

What were your annunciation moments?

How to Create a Growth Plan for 2023: EQ, Authenticity, and the Power of Self-Awareness

A great deal of research suggests that emotional intelligence (EQ) – the ability to identify and regulate one’s emotions and empathize with the emotions of others – is vital to success at work and in life. A high EQ helps you build healthy teams, reduce stress, increase engagement and motivation, achieve higher productivity, foster psychological safety, defuse conflict, and improve job satisfaction.
One of the four pillars of emotional intelligence is self-awareness – having a comprehensive grasp of who you are as a person and a leader, and how you show up in the world. The more you understand yourself, the better you can connect with others. Self-aware leaders know their strengths, weaknesses, and blind spots, and how to work with them. They are comfortable with themselves and genuine. They have a better understanding of emotions and how they affect behaviour and can recognise those emotions in others.
So… where does self-awareness come from? How do you develop it? Can you create a plan to become more self-aware?
The following suggestions will assist you in designing your own authentic leadership development plan for the new year by incorporating the five components of self-awareness.
  1. Purpose and Vision. Leadership is a consuming activity. A sense of purpose, along with a clearly articulated vision of what you want your life and your leadership to be like in the next five years, will enable to you to stay passionate so you can inspire those under your care.
  2. Insights. Learning is key to self-awareness and growth. What insights do you need this year to build your personal capacity toward your purpose and vision? What books will you read? What courses will you take? What teachers will you seek out?
  3. Self-Reflection. Connecting to others begins with listening to oneself. And listening to yourself requires a place where you can hear yourself think. When you spend so much of your life attending to the demands of others, you can lose yourself by failing to distinguish between your authentic voice and other voices that clamor for your attention.
  4. Feedback. While a habit of personal reflection can bring an element of growth and self-understanding, it will only take you so far. You ultimately can’t solve problems with the same thinking that created the problems. We all have blind spots. We need feedback from others to see what we can’t see.
  5. Employing a guide. Authenticity is a lonely journey, but it can’t be done alone. The lone-warrior model of leadership is, in the words of Ron Heifetz, “heroic suicide.” Guides – those who can take us into the unfamiliar territory of our own development, can come in the form of therapists, coaches, confidants, recovery programs, and peer-mentoring groups.
As you continue your authentic leadership journey into 2023, incorporating some strategies to increase your EQ will undoubtedly heighten the success of your growth plan. What strategies will you try?

What is your development plan for 2023?

As you map out your personal and leadership development plan for the coming year, it’s important to understand the difference between horizontal growth and vertical growth, between learning about leadership and true leadership development.

We live in a world of horizontal growth, a world filled with sixty second sound bites, 300-word posts (case in point), five-minute YouTube videos, twenty-minute TED talks, and audio books we listen to on the way to the office. These can be inspiring and insightful as we move “horizontally” from one insight to the next.

However, vertical growth – true leadership development – is different. Vertical growth comes from digging deeply into the layers of our character and getting to the core of who we are as a person. Vertical growth is ongoing, deep, and results in sustained self-awareness. Our culture isn’t used to digging deeply. When things get uncomfortable, we move to the next headline, the next fad, the next shiny object, or the next perspective to reinforce our viewpoint. Don’t mistake listening to an inspiring podcast with doing the deep work. Both have value and both are necessary on your authentic journey. But they are different.

You might have a plan for books to read, podcasts to listen to, or YouTube channels to subscribe to, but what will be your plan for vertical growth this year?

If you are committed to deeper vertical growth this year, check out our SAGE Forums: https://davidirvine.com/sage-forums/

Peaceful New Years

Peaceful New Years

This is a good time to reflect on the past year and refocus for the coming year. I always take a day between Christmas and New Years to take an inventory and clarify my goals and intentions for the upcoming year.

I don’t make New Years resolutions. I make a list of what I’ve learned and achieved this past year and review my commitments to myself, so I don’t get distracted from what matters most.

We, at the David Irvine Team, want to express our heart-felt wish for a contented new year.

May you find peace in the storms of your life, embrace each moment with careful attention, stay true to what matters to you, and have the courage to live a life that belongs to you.

#theleadersnavigator #happynewyear #inspiration #peace