The S in S.E.L.F. is for SACRIFICE

My last several posts have been about SACRIFICE.  I have been thinking about the way we learn leadership, and I’ve discovered that it is really about self-leading.  My new campaign is shown in this image:

For the short-term , I will be talking about these four areas of self-leadership:

  • SACRIFICE
  • EMPOWERMENT
  • LOVE
  • FRIENDSHIP

In my past posts, I have given examples of BIG ways people have sacrificed for others…..
Sacrifice, Seeds and Starvation
Sacrifice and Heroism
The #1 Characteristic of Exceptional Leaders

Today, is a personal experience.  No heroics, just personal sacrifices I’ve made toward becoming a better leader.

In his Lectures on Faith, Joseph Smith tell us,….a religion that does not require the sacrifice
of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary
unto life
….”

Sacrifice of all things.  That’s pretty big.  This doesn’t just apply to religion, though.  Religion is something we are accountable to; but we are accountable to ourselves as well–perhaps even more.  Therefore, WE must sacrifice all things if we want to have sufficient power to produce faith unto life.

In my journey toward leadership, I have sacrificed much.  Facing fears of rejection, humiliation, friends, even family relationships required sacrifice.  When I decided to break the silence of childhood abuse many years ago, I sacrificed all of these things and more.

I have sacrificed my own desires many times because of my loyalty to an employer, an organization, even my church and family.  These sacrifices have NOT weakened me.  They have empowered me.  I have not lost who I am, but I have been able to find who I am.  Sacrifice.

On July 1st, 2010 I began serving as one of the top three leaders in a non-profit organization. This organization was Toastmasters International, and I was the third in charge of roughly 3500 members as the Lt.Governor Marketing for District 2. 

On July 1st, 2011 I had moved up one seat, and served as the Lt. Governor Education and Training.  By July 1st, 2012 I was the head honcho, the big cheese, the lady in charge of District 2.  I was the District Governor.  Yikes!  I thought I had been working hard the two previous years; but because I never do anything less than 100%, I charged in full speed and set out to motivate and lead a team of about 75 volunteers in this very large organization.

What did I sacrifice for leadership? 

  • Sleep
  • Meals
  • Vacations
  • Blogging
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Career advancements
  • Income
  • Client relationships
  • Seminars
  • Conferences
  • Time spent with family

I’m not complaining, because I’m VERY glad I took on the challenge to lead in the Toastmaster organization.  I don’t believe that I would have had the opportunity to learn the leadership lessons I did any other way.  I had the chance to be the CEO of an organization with 3500 + “employees”.  Wow!  And did I mention that every minute of it was voluntary?  I was never paid anything.

With all the sacrificing it took to lead District 2, I never sacrificed my integrity, my religious beliefs, or my self-respect.  Nor did I ever compromise on the goals I set out to accomplish. 

I did not meet all the benchmarks that I wanted to as District Governor, but I left District 2 stronger and better than when it was put in my charge.  I’m happy with that.

The sacrifices I made gave me power sufficient to produce necessary
results. 


What have YOU sacrificed?

 What power have YOU been able to produce because of your sacrifice?

The #1 Characteristic of Exceptional Leaders

Navigating your fishbowl and defining your leadership ability requires 4 skills:

  • Sacrifice
  • Empowerment
  • Love
  • Friendship

The last few blog posts have been about Sacrifice. Please see the previous posts:

Sacrifice, Seeds and Starvation

Sacrifice and Heroism

Leaders must sacrifice.  Following are examples of the way others have Sacrificed:

Transplant recipient struggles to go on after brother’s death


Miki Endo warned others of a dangerous tsunami


Dog dies saving drunken owner from oncoming train


These are stories of people and animals who have sacrificed their own lives and/or safety for others.  I don’t share these stories to suggest that leaders must be heroes.  All of us are put into positions of leadership at one time or another, and rarely do we have opportunity to be heroic.

However, I share these stories because the characteristic of sacrifice is important to be an exceptional leader.  Inspiring others can come only through self-sacrifice.

¤ “We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. ” Joseph Campbell (1904-1987)

¤ “True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the courage to surpass others at whatever cost, but the courage to serve others at whatever the cost.”  Arthur Ashe (1943-1993)

¤ “Getting what you want is not nearly as important as giving what you have.” Tom Krause (born 1957)

True leaders sacrifice because they care about the success of those they lead.

What sacrifices have you, or other leaders made?

Sacrifice and Heroism

What does it mean to be a hero?

This is Rick Rescorla.  Rick sacrificed his life to save the lives of many others on 9-11-01.

Rescorla , a 62-year-old retired and decorated U.S. Army colonel, had
focused on security at the World
Trade Center
for years. Prior to the bombing of the World
Trade Center
in 1993, he had approached the Port
Authority of New York and New Jersey
about security vulnerabilities in the WTC’s garage. He was told to focus only
on the floors that Morgan Stanley used. 

Rick Rescorla was told to navigate his own fishbowl.  He did that.  But, Rick Rescorla didn’t stop thinking about security weaknesses and terrorism inside, and outside his fishbowl.

In 1997, Rescorla became director of security at Morgan
Stanley, where he maintained vigilant attention to the firm’s — and the
building’s — safety.  He held twice-yearly
evacuation drills by the stairwell for the firm’s 22 floors in the south tower.

The result: On Sept. 11, 2001, he was ready

Despite having received official instructions to stay put after the first tower was struck at 8:46 a.m, Rescorla told Morgan Stanley staffers to follow his evacuation
plan, and he sent them two by two, as they had practiced, down the many flights
of stairs. His decision and his preparation made all the difference. Although
13 employees — including Rescorla — perished, more than 2,500 employees left
the tower alive. That’s where the word “miracle” comes in. It’s also
where the word “hero” comes in.

Rescorla used his cell phone to get updates on news footage as he directed employees by bullhorn. He also called his wife, Susan.
“If something should happen to me, I want you to know I’ve never been
happier,” he said.

A fuzzy photo of Rescorla speaking into the bullhorn. He was last
seen on the 10th floor of the World Trade Center 9-11-01.

Sacrifice ~ Empowerment ~ Love ~ Friendship

What acts of service have you witnessed by leaders? 

What does sacrifice mean to you, and how does sacrifice breed heroism?

Sacrifice, Seeds and Starvation

Interesting title for this post, eh?  Since you sacrificed a few minutes to read what it was about, I know it worked! 

Sacrifice.

I’ve been thinking about the way we navigate our individual fishbowls, and I have concluded that we are all trying to become leaders.  Leaders in our own area of expertise, talent and/or desire.

I have learned that many people are misguided in their belief that leadership is leading others.  Well, it’s not.  We may, at some time be in a position to lead others, but before we can be successful at that, we must learn to lead ourselves.

This odyssey we each undertake must begin with four areas of self-leadership. 

  • Sacrifice
  • Empowerment
  • Love
  • Friendship

This post is the start of a conversation I hope to have with you about sacrifice.  If we don’t learn to sacrifice things we want for things others need or want, then we will never have the ability to truly lead others to greatness.

Take this man, for example, Nikolai Vavilov.

Nikolai Vavilov, a Russian botanist in 1941, had created the largest seed bank
in the world.  His collection of 400,000 seeds, roots, fruits and genetic
material, held the future of Soviet agriculture. Unfortunately it was located in
Leningrad,
which Hitler encircled that summer and began to starve.

The siege of Leningrad
lasted two years and cost more than a million lives, and Vavilov’s scientists
endured it surrounded by edible plants.

As they slowly starved, they refused
to eat from any of their collection containers of rice, peas, corn and wheat
,”
two survivors remembered in 1993. “They chose torment and death in order to
preserve Vavilov’s gene bank
.”

In all, nine scientists and workers chose to die of starvation
rather than eat the plants. Vavilov himself died in a labor camp in 1943, but
today his bank is the largest collection of fruits and berries in the world.

Think about the sacrifice of Nikolai Vavilov the next time you eat a strawberry, or have a slice of blueberry pie.  


Yummm…..blueberry pie.  Okay, I digress.

The Decemberists wrote a song about the sacrifice of Vavilov.  You can listen to the song “When the War Came” by clinking on this LINK or you can read the lyrics:

“When The War Came”

With all the grain of Babylon

To cultivate to make us strong


And hidden here behind the walls


Are shoulders wide and timber on


‘Til the war came


‘Til the war came




A terrible autonomy


Is grafted onto you and me


Our trust put in the government


They told their lies are heaven sent


‘Til the war came


‘Til the war came




And the war came with a curse and a caterwaul


And the war came with all the poise of a cannonball


And they’re picking out our eyes by coal and candlelight


When the war came, the war came hard




We made our oath to Vavilov


We’d not betray the Solanum


The acres of asteraceae


To our own pangs of starvation


When the war came


When the war came




And the war came with a curse and a caterwaul


And the war came with all the poise of a cannonball


And they’re picking out our eyes by coal and candlelight


When the war came, the war came hard




With all the grain of Babylon

Sacrifice. 

How much do YOU sacrifice for the betterment of others? 

What does sacrifice mean to you? 

Do you know stories about sacrifice you can share?

3 Ways to Put Your Business Where the Sun Does Shine

One of America’s founding fathers, James Madison said, “As there is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust, so there are other qualities in human nature which justify a certain portion of esteem and confidence“.

The founding fathers of the United States of America wanted the goal of our Constitution to
allow the sunshine side of human nature to enjoy unlimited freedom,
while setting up appropriate safeguards to prevent the shadow of human
passion, greed, and lust for power from undermining the success of the
nation.

Wouldn’t you like your job or business to have the same goals? Wouldn’t you like to have more sunshine in your business?  Wouldn’t you like to be able to bring out the best in your team, your employees, or your organization?  You can!  It takes pulling back the shades, washing the windows, and welcoming the rays of light into your fishbowl!

Let the sunshine in with these simple steps:

Clarify your communication expectations

Every business MUST have written rules, guidelines, policies and expectations if the team is to understand the definition of success.  Having a personnel policy manual will prevent the shadowy problems that consistently come up in business, and allow YOUR team the freedom to create solutions within your realm of expectations.  It’s a beautiful site to behold, when it happens!

Create an environment of open idea-sharing and accountability

At the start of every business day, there should be time set aside for team members to state their goals, identify foreseeable problems, and discuss possible solutions.  It’s a real “pane” to realize that disaster could have been avoided by simple coordination early on. 

Appreciate the “light” in your human resources

Have you ever thought about the meaning of “human resources”?  Your team members are the greatest resource you’ll ever spend money on.  I believe that the answer to your success lies within your bowl-mates.  Take time to identify the talents, skills and knowledge of each individual, and then let them float to the top as leaders in their specialty.

“Great teams do not hold back with one another. They are unafraid to
air their dirty laundry. They admit their mistakes, their weaknesses,
and their concerns without fear of reprisal.”


Patrick Lencioni,

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable

Freedom, creativity, and self-confidence are a few principles that the founding fathers of America built an entire nation on.  Certainly your business can benefit by applying the same principles.  Bring your business and your team out of the shadow and into the light! 

Your future will be so bright, you’re gonna need shades!

Happy DEPENDENCE Day

On this, July 5th 2013, I’d like to wish you a happy DEPENDENCE Day.  To begin, I encourage you to read PAUL REVERE’S RIDE by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. This poem commemorates the actions of the American patriot, Paul Revere, who rode from house to house warning citizens that the British troops were advancing, and that they should take up arms and be prepared to fight.

Because men and women did fight, our nation, The United States of America, was born.  July 4th is the day that America celebrates its independence from Britain.  It is also a day that we celebrate the men and women who have taken up arms, and have fought for Americans to have the freedoms and liberties that we do.


L Tom Perry, a latter-day Apostle of Jesus Christ has said, “The success of the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War came by men who were raised by God for this very purpose.  Where else in history do we find a stronger group of men who possessed greater capacity and wisdom than our Founding Fathers?  But they did not credit their own abilities, they all acknowledged Almighty God and were certain that it was impossible to succeed without His help.”

When the poem, Paul Revere’s Ride was written in 1860, America was on the verge of civil war.  July 3, 2013 marked 150 years since the Battle of Gettysburg–the battle that changed the course of the Civil War.

At a site that had been set up as a cemetery for many of the men lost in the Civil War, then U.S. President, Abraham Lincoln dedicated the field where he stood in Gettyburg, Pennsylvannia.  His famous words follow…….

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a
new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men
are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any
nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great
battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a
final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might
live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not
hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have
consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will
little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what
they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the
unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It
is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us —
that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for
which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve
that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall
have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people,
for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

In about 588 B.C, a man living on the American continent wrote about the land in which his family had been guided.  His name was Lehi, and he said,

Wherefore, this land
is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they
shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it
shall be a land of liberty
unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity;
if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever
“.

The “him” that Lehi refers to is God. And we are warned as a voice from the dust that we are to take action to preserve our nation.  Like Paul Revere, it is up to us to warn our neighbor.  It is up to us to watch for the signs that tell us danger is near.  It is up to us to be prepared with oil in our lamps and testimony in our hearts.

I believe that once again, another
civil war is upon us.  A war of good versus evil.  A war of love of God
versus haters of God.  This war is raging in the hearts of men, and we
must be ready to battle.

On October 3, 1863, Abraham Lincoln gave a Thanksgiving Proclamation…..

” We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown.

But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.  

Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people.”

Brothers and sisters, saints and patriots, may you, on this Independence Day resolve to recognize your dependence on the Lord. 

May this greatest nation on earth—the United States of America—always abound in righteousness.  May we always be deserving of the liberty and freedom so valiantly fought for us by men and women long past.

“America! America!

God shed his grace on thee.

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea.”

This is my prayer for you, for us as a nation, and for those who will come generations after us……


How do you measure your growth?

Today is the first day in 4 years that I have not felt an incredible sense of responsibility in leadership for my favorite non-profit organization, Toastmasters International. 

At midnight June 30th, 2013 I completed my year as District 2 Governor!

I have learned the following:

  • A clearly defined vision and mission are vital
  • Expectations must be shared early and often
  • Personal touches go a long way
  • Pick your battles
  • Prioritize your time, projects and communication
  • Self-discipline is a must
  • Take every opportunity to increase your network
  • You can handle more than you ever thought you could
  • Sleep is important
  • No excuses
  • Speak only when what you say has value to someone else
  • 80% of success is timing

Toastmasters International, with its 300,000 or so members, is divided into 89 districts in 116+ countries throughout the world.  Since July 1, 2012, I’ve been serving as one of those 89 governors.  District 2 geographically covers western Washington from Kent to the Canadian border; and from the Cascade Mountains to the Puget Sound, and serves roughly 3500 members.

If you’re a numbers person, you might be interested in the team of individuals that make up the District 2 Executive Council of which I served as the head:

2 Lt Governors

5 other officers including a(n):

  • Immediate Past District Governor
  • Public Relations Officer
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Sergeant at Arms

7 Division Governors

40 Area Governors

187 Club Presidents

187 Club Vice Presidents Education

20+ auxiliary personnel including heads of several committees

20+ assistants to the area and division governors

There are 6 other district governors in Region 1 that greatly influenced and inspired me.  Nancy from District 9; Annette from District 15; Margaret from District 21; Bea from District 26; Mary from District 32; and Linus from the Yukon Council in Alaska.  These are individuals I planned with, commiserated with, and exchanged ideas and support with.

I can’t even begin to count the dozens upon dozens of individuals from Toastmasters International and all over the world who have, in ways large and small, impacted my growth in leadership.

I am so grateful for this experience. I have never been so exhausted, yet uplifted and invigorated all at the same time!

Special recognition goes to my personal support system.  My husband and family have not seen much of me in the last 4 years.  I have missed numerous family events because of my responsibilities as a district governor.  I have sacrificed time on my book, and in my business. 

THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and do something that seems a little crazy.  Do something that will require selfless service and sacrifice. 

Your assignment: Consider your personal growth in the last 4 years, then answer the following questions:

  1. What have you achieved, and how? 
  2. Who are the individuals which have inspired you? 
  3. What have you learned about leadership?

Please post your comments on this blog.  Your experiences will be meaningful to me and so many others.