No Coincidences, No Regrets

Global Leadership Lessons from an Unlikely Source

“Maybe this all happened for a reason?”

These are the words of my wise, reflective 16-year-old daughter, Emma, who has had two near brushes with death in the last month.

Firstly, she experienced violent road rage first hand when another driver got so angry at not being able to pass her that he tried to ram her car and barge her into oncoming traffic. A few weeks later there was a split second of inattention and she ended up plowing into the back of a long traffic line and totaling her shiny first car. 

Untitled1Fortunately, she walked away from both incidents shaken but unscathed.

The same was true for this blogger six weeks ago when he got sideswiped by another car and for my daughter’s best friend a few nights ago when she fell asleep at the wheel and burst through two fences, ending in a ditch and totaling her car. My car was damaged but fixable.

Someone somewhere was clearly watching over us or playing a cruel joke or – as my daughter concluded – just trying to give us a warning and teach us a lesson.

But what was the lesson and how does this relate to Global Leadership?

This whole topic of really listening, reflecting on and learning from life’s many lessons is particularly appropriate at the end of the calendar year, which the Germans call “between the years”.

And it is particularly appropriate for new and old global leaders, who are usually so busy throughout the year that this might be their only chance to slow down and take stock for a little while.

They could begin with such questions as:

  1. What was the highlight of the year just passed?
  2. What was the low point?
  3. What did I gain during the year?
  4. What did I lose?
  5. Who enriched my life the most and why?
  6. Who challenged or drained me the most and why?
  7. What do I hope to achieve in the coming year?
  8. Whom do I want to become?
  9. How will I know I am being successful?
  10. Who will keep me accountable and how?

And more specifically, a current or budding global leader might also ask:

  1. What does it mean, in a general sense, to be a truly global leader?
  2. What does it mean to me personally to be a truly global leader?
  3. What do I hope to achieve as a global leader?
  4. How will it enhance my career, my work, and my personal life?
  5. In what ways might it actually impinge on my career, my work, and my personal life?
  6. What natural strengths, learned talents, overarching passions, and core values do I already possess to be a global leader?
  7. What gaps do I have and what hot buttons and blind spots do I need to be aware of?
  8. How can I best overcome my shortcomings through meditation, stretch assignments, travel, studying, coaching, etc.?
  9. What else do I need to be successful on a global level?
  10. How will I and others hold myself accountable?

All of these questions can and do lead to some very valuable insights, ideas and plans but they will not matter much if they are not accompanied by a strong set of personal values and an unerring belief in the power of positive, sustainable change.

Which brings us back to my daughter, Emma and recent events.

It would have been very easy for her to shrug off the recent incidents and only focus on the future and how quickly she could get a replacement car.

It would also have been very easy to get stuck in the past, wallowing in victimhood and blaming others for what happened or what nearly happened.

It is much harder to remain in the present and try to understand what happened and why and then come away stronger and more grateful, realizing that there are no coincidences and no regrets in a life to be lived fully and reflectively.

It is much harder to remain in the present and try to understand what happened and why and then come away stronger and more grateful, realizing that there are no coincidences and no regrets in a life to be lived fully and reflectively.

Or in the words of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (a Swiss American Psychiatrist famous for her five stages of grief): “Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.”

How many adult leaders can do this? Whether they are faced with life-threatening adversity or not?

 

 

 

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