Golden Visions & Associations
Thought of the Week
Your Success Thought for the Week of October 8, 2008

The Patient vs. Urgent Leader

You know Mahatma Ghandi to be a major political and spiritual leader from India. Ghandi spearheaded the Indian independence movement, pioneering the non- violent ‘Satyagraha’ which led India to independence, inspiring movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. You might say he was a busy guy.

His spiritual (and thus leadership) practice included one full hour of meditation each day. As Prime Minister of India through the most turbulent of times he was often asked: “How do you cope with the enormous stress?” His response: “I meditate for two hours on Thursdays.”

His undeniable point being that when things get tough on the outside, go inside.

As leaders we often do the opposite. We feel the pressures piling up, our heart rate increases, minds race and we feel that we have to act now irrespective of the consequences.

This is when errors in judgment and subsequent action occur. More often than not these errors cannot be easily corrected when cooler minds prevail. One answer is patience. Slow down and go inside.

I know what you’re thinking. Some people are more urgent than others by their very nature. This is true, yet it is no excuse for bad, even harmful, choices. Those who are more urgent need to be aware that this trait can be as much as a deterrent to effective leadership as it is a bonus.

I doubt that you are busier than Ghandi was running an entire country simultaneously changing the thoughts, beliefs and actions of his followers. Still, one full hour of silence each day would be a stretch for 98% of you. There are other ways to ‘go inside’ and get in touch with your inner brilliance that take far less than the one hour Ghandi was able to allocate:

- Write your dilemma and explore options on paper (or computer) rather than in your mind. This simple act will engage the right (creative) and left (logical) side of your brain allowing a wider range of new approaches.

-Change your habits. If you sit at your desk all day (even if you have a stunning office,) get up and walk around. Movement in your body can unlock stuck thought patterns and create movement in your mind. Walk, climb stairs rather than taking an elevator, get out in the sunshine. Move.

-Get wet. How many great ideas have come to you in the shower? How relaxed are you after beginning or ending your day in your Jacuzzi? How much more creative is your mind when you are relaxed? These occurrences are no accident. Studies show that contact with water can stimulate thought processes. If you can’t stop your mind from racing sit by a lake, take a hot bath or drink a glass of water.

This week, see how you can tap into Ghandi’s wisdom of not only leading his country, but leading his life. Experiment with patience, ‘going inside,’ and allowing more creative ideas to replace those limited urgent reactions. Be the patient, creative, thoughtful leader others are inspired to follow rather than the urgent leader for whom others want to steer clear.

Enjoy your discoveries and have a grand week!


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