April 29, 2012
I’ve been hearing quite a lot lately about the desire to be Number One. “My goal is to get to the top” or “I want to be number one”. Ambition can drive us to achieve remarkable things both in leadership roles and in our personal quests. What comes first: the goal to get to the top or the the desire to achieve or do the things that can make a difference at the top?
I was fortunate enough to be at a function recently where graduating students were having their final celebrations. Prizes were awarded for top marks. Speeches were made about achievement.
I have goals, both personal and professional and those goals help to guide my actions and, I hope, the meaning that my actions bring. Striving to achieve a goal can bring real focus and attention to what matters, not just doing the “things” that need to be done.
If my only goal was to be “number one” for whatever that means, now might be a good time to pause and reflect on what it will mean to be top dog; who is it for; and what purpose can only be achieved by getting to this place.
I might also think about who I’m wanting to be Number One for. And think about who is watching and why I need them to notice that I’m going for the top.
Not much was said in the achievement speeches about doing what has purpose and making a difference through new skills. Or leading others to grow. I left with a feeling that what was admired was the pursuit of going to the the top over and above what that might mean.
Being number one. We already all are in our own world. Wise leaders know that and use what they bring to add meaning and purpose to those around them.
Without worrying about what others are thinking about position or title.
April 27, 2012
At the end of the movie “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” the character played by Dame Judi Dench implores us to spend our lives, no matter what stage we’re at, in doing those things that matter to us, that give us meaning and purpose.
I’m writing this on the plane after twenty four hours in Dunedin. Tonight is a function, tomorrow a half marathon and at least two more trips in the next 10 days. In between there are reports to finalise, emails to respond to and an over full week ahead. Sound familiar?
I’m not the most relaxed flyer but some seriously concentrated conditioning over the last three months has gone a long way to cure that! But the flight, if nothing else, gives me time too breathe and relax. And think about purpose.
I try to live with purpose and meaning for those things that matter to me and try to ensure that those things take priority. Right now I’m finding thinking about purpose incredibly difficult with the intensity and pressure of multiple works obligations.
I console myself that the work is of course part of my purpose. Which it is. But it ain’t everything.
So I’m giving myself two extra flights to wish my Mum a happy birthday in person. She’s 81 and living in her Marigold Hotel with Dad as they should be!
Now that’s something that matters.
March 21, 2012
On 30 June last year Duncan Meek made a terrible error on the Southern Motorway in Auckland and collided with the Fa’aeteete family van. Mr Fa’aeteete was killed leaving Mrs Fa’aeteete instantly widowed with a son, a daughter, granddaughter and another on the way.
I admit to reading the news and being somewhat immune to it all. It’s not often I feel particularly moved but the story in the NZ Herald about Duncan Meek’s sentencing and Mrs Fa’aeteete moved me.
“To err is human, to forgive is divine,” Mrs Fa’aeteete told the court. “If Petelo was here he would say that it’s done. Learn from it and don’t do it again.” She continued: “We met with Duncan Meek. His monumental loss of concentration had dark consequences – it caused the death of our beloved Petelo. His remorseful demeanour left me no option than to live by Petelo’s legacy to be forgiving.”
Mrs Fa’aeteete hugged Mr Meek in court, cried and told him to not do it again.
Where did Aida Fa’aeteete get such strength to forgive? I don’t really know, but probably in part from her late beloved Petelo. I’m sure Mr Meek’s remorse had something to do with it too.
Mrs Fa’aeteete is a remarkable woman who shows extraordinary leadership. The courts are full of revenge dressed up as justice while we have the people, the will and the resources to truly move on with justice that restores peace through forgiveness and being heard.
We can all learn from Mr Fa’aeteete, more so than she thinks possible I reckon. Such powerful actions, unplanned and genuine. She get’s the last word today: “My husband was a forgiving person. I will forgive Duncan once, I just hope he learns from it. If we achieve that, and he doesn’t do it again and if someone else learns from this, then that’s more than enough for me.”