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Posts Tagged ‘Gandhi’

While studying India as a college student, I was so inspired by the principles by which Gandhi lived his life that I decided to emulate them as much as possible. So much so, that many months prior to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq I called one of my best friends and asked, “If I don a white robe, walk down to Washington DC, and sit in front of the White House in protest, will you join me?” The long, hesitating pause was all I needed to know. And it was soul-crushing.
 

Something tells me that prior to taking a stand against British colonialism, Gandhi did not call his best friend.
 

Needless to say, I tried to live my life with a humility I believe Gandhi possessed. I never wanted the spotlight, or to be the #1 guy, or the CEO, or the leader. In fact, I often say, “I don’t want to be the leader, but I will make the best damn #2 guy you will ever have.”
 

Then, about 7 years ago, I joined Toastmasters. (Toastmasters is a phenomenal organization that develops your public speaking and leadership.)
 

True to form, at first I simply listened and admired the amazing speakers in my club. Then I started taking roles to support the group and be in service to them. Then, when asked, I took on leadership roles in the organization – but never the role of president. Over the course of time, I also began speaking.
 

At each meeting, the club would vote for best speaker. I won best speaker awards and best impromptu speaker many, many times. Apparently, I was good at this.
 

However, I never voted for myself when the club voted for best speaker. Keeping with what I thought were Gandhi-like principles, I would always vote for someone else, even if I spoke during that particular meeting.
 

Then it dawned on me.
 

If I don’t vote for myself, if I don’t believe in myself, why should anyone else? It was a HUGE shift and lesson. It was very hard for me to do, but I did finally vote for myself. That act turned out to be an extremely important piece of my personal growth and confidence.
 

A few weeks ago I returned to Toastmasters after a 2-year hiatus. At that particular meeting I was asked to speak on an impromptu topic, which I happily did. I truly enjoy speaking and inspiring others when I can. There were 3 other people that spoke on impromptu topics that night. Falling back into my old ways, I voted for someone else rather than myself.
 

In an unusual twist of fate, as if the Universe wanted to hammer home the message, I was asked to help count the votes to see who the club thought was the best speaker that night.
 

I lost by one vote.
 

Message heard loud and clear.
 
 
 
If I am not for myself, who will be for me.

– Hillel
 

We each hold a magnificence and inspiration inside ourselves. All too often though, we allow it to die on the vine of doubt, approval or humility. But this is absurd! Who we are, and what we have to say, is divinely inspired. Our souls are gifts meant to be shared with the world. As unusual as this might sound, each time we withhold what is inside we are actually being selfish.
 

Interestingly, the rest of Hillel’s wisdom states –
 

If I am not for myself, who will be for me. But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?
 

I cannot think of better words to encourage belief in yourself . . . sprinkled with the humility of Gandhi. Perhaps this was the wisdom Gandhi listened to when he donned his white robe and began his walk.
 

READ HOW THIS APPLIES TO YOUR BUSINESS here.

 

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There is a lot of talk about the Mayan prophecies and 2012 being the end of the world.

 
I don’t believe it.

 

What I do believe, if I may borrow from the 1990’s band R.E.M., is that it will be the end of the world as we know it.

 

2012, or any new year for that matter, offers the opportunity for great transformation in our life. It is an opportunity to turn over a new leaf and start fresh. I think that is what 2012 will be; a year that marks great transformations in people’s lives.

 

When I take a moment to look at what is occurring in my life, I notice that the biggest issue that has challenged me my whole life now stares me right in the face, confronting me. It’s as if the Universe finally said, “OK, Rich. I have had enough of your avoiding the one issue you need to face so I am going to put it square in front of you.” And this time, I see that there is no escaping it.

 

Once I saw this for myself, I noticed that a few of my closest friends are experiencing the same thing. They are being challenged to step up and face that one issue in their life that haunts them. That one issue that prevents them from living a more joyful life.

 

It wouldn’t surprise me if in 2012 we each will be given the opportunity to face our biggest challenge and transform our lives forever.

 

In the book Conversations With God there is a great line that states, “You will get the message as many times as you need it, in as many different forms.” I have seen this truth play out over and over again for my clients as they seek personal growth. In my coaching, however, I add a phrase so that they understand the importance of hearing the message – “And each time you don’t get the message, the Universe turns up the volume.”

 

I think 2012 is about turning up the volume to 10 so that we all clearly hear the message we are supposed to “get”. More importantly, I believe that “getting it” and the transformation that is available to everyone, is about living the life you imagine for yourself and know you truly deserve in your heart. It is about stopping the struggle and suffering we endure in our lives and finally allowing ourselves to live a life we dream about.

 

As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world, as in being able to remake ourselves.
– Mohandas K. Gandhi

 

I believe that the human spirit is capable of creating just about anything we can imagine in life. One of the best ways to usher in this kind of change . . . change we want to create and be the cause of . . . is to create a vision, set goals and establish a plan to make it real.

 

For those who want to allay their fears about the end of the world and focus on living this year, here is a great article from NASA debunking all the different end of the world scenarios put forth by people.

 
NASA Debunks End of World Theories
 

Of course, if you prefer to believe that the end of the world is indeed coming, feel free to enjoy this ominous video capturing the end of the world as we know it . . . and, you better start living fast.  Only 355 days left!  Luckily for us, this year is a leap year, giving us one more day to live.  Those Mayans sure knew how to plan!   🙂

 

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When people think about inspiring leaders, among the first to be mentioned are Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Churchill, and Martin Luther King Jr. In mentioning these leaders, I contend that most people are thinking more about the leadership legend that has been built around them and passed down through the years more so than the actual act of leadership that catapulted them into that illustrious group in the first place. It is the legend of these people that we put up on that leadership pedestal. And it is that legend that often intimidates us to our own leadership abilities. rosa 8

More times than not, leadership is not something people sit around all day and plan for. It is a moment in time that is seized. It is a commitment to a belief or an acting upon a passion. It is a stand you take for yourself or something you love. It is a fleeting moment of inspiration you grab that somehow grows in ways you never imagined, and before you know it, people see you as a leader. It is not something you set out to achieve, it was simply something you did that happens to inspire others. That is the moment of leadership. You didn’t think about it, you just did it. It was a calling of your heart.

There are an untold number of leaders waiting to be unleashed in the world. Not necessarily leaders of the masses, but rather leaders of much smaller, yet no less important groups. It could be a family, a small community organization, a business, a school or some other group of people sharing a passion and vision. Now is the time to step up to your leadership. If you hold a passion or dream for something, the world can no longer wait for you to step into your greatness. Now is the time. Seize this moment and take that small and simple step that will lead to your leadership legend.

What are you passionate about?  What will you do to step in to your leadership and bring that passion to life?

 

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