Leadership Perspectives: At The Center
I was talking to my son’s partner this morning about his sister, and her feelings of entitlement (his words). He says “she thinks the world revolves around her. When she wants something, she thinks that the rest of us should drop everything and come help her, even when we are busy.”
Couple this conversation with my attendance at a meeting Unity of Phoenix here in Arizona, where we had the opportunity to meet and listen to Dr. Eben Alexander, a neurologist who experienced his own NDE (near death experience) and subsequently changed his belief system around God and Heaven. He is the author of “Proof of Heaven”, and has appeared across the country talking to people of his experience. This was to be followed by an appearance of Anita Moorjani, author of “Dying To Be Me” one week later. I wasunable to attend her presentation, but read her book over the last few days.
Anita Moorjani and Dr. Alexander both point out the truth of life after death, the coming home to the experience of unconditional and complete love. They both used the words in explaining their realization that “each of us is the center of the universe, connected to everyone and everything around us.”
My ever seeking mind begins to noodle the question: What is the difference between being the center of the universe, and the world revolving around me? And, how does it relate to leadership, if it even does? These thoughts have been chasing each other like young pups at play all day. Let me share some of them with you…
When you believe that the world revolves around you, there are expectations of being served. You make demands, some of them possibly unreasonable, and expect them to be met. Many times you don’t know how or when to be grateful, wanting only more.
When the world revolves around you, there is no question as to who is right in any situation – you are, and listening to what others have to say has little or no impact on you.
When the world revolves around you, others become less than, allowing you to impose your will upon them, even when you cause pain and create a sense of deprivation.
When you are the center of the universe, you recognize you co-create your own world. You know that everyone around you is there for a reason – for you to learn from, for you to reach out and help, for you to serve.
When you are the center of the universe, you listen carefully to what others have to say. You allow the people around you to be autonomous, to grow into their authentic self with your encouragement.
When you are the epicenter of the universe, you work hard, but take time to focus yourself, creating balance and internal peace.
When you are the center of the universe, you know that you are loved just because you are alive, and you give the same to others. You are mindful of others, and you touch them softly with your life sustaining energy just by being in the room with them. You work hard, and care deeply for the people around you. You draw those same types of people to you, and together you create a world that works well.
Yesterday, our minister told a story about a young man just entering in to seminary:
He arrived at the college in a stretch limousine paid for by his father. As he stepped out of the car, he perused the dormitory building he was to stay in for the next three years, and spotted a grey-haired man walking around the grounds.
The student called out “Do you work here?”
The grey-haired man turned and walked over to the car. Responding to the question, he said “Yes, I work here. How may I help you?”
The student signaled the driver to open the trunk, and asked the elderly gentleman to help him with his bags. The grey-haired man pulled to large and heavy bags from the trunk, and worked hard to carry them into the building and up three flights of stairs to the student’s room. The student followed with his briefcase, and is overcoat folded neatly over his arm.
When the bags were set into the room to accommodate the student’s wishes, the student reached into his pocket and pulled out a quarter. He gave the quarter to the elderly man, and thanked him for his help. The grey-haired man smiled gently at him, and said “I am here to serve.”
The next morning, the new students gathered early in the chapel of the seminary. As the clock came up on 8:00am, a man in white robes and vestment walked to the front of the chapel. The student’s eyes widened and flustered, he turned to the student to his left and whispered “Who is that man?”
You guessed it. His neighbor quietly whispered back to him – “That is the President of the College.”
After the services, and an extensive welcome to the seminary, the student waited anxiously near the front as people greeted the President. Finally, it was his turn to speak and he apologized profusely for his actions of the previous day. The President smiled gently and said, “I am here to serve.”
As leaders, I believe it is important to begin each day remembering we are the center of the universe. How we lead determines the world we live in, the success of the team we lead, the depth of the impact we have on those around us. Great care should be taken to not slip into believing that the world revolves around us, but to recall that we are always working for the greater good, and success is achieved utilizing the skills and knowledge of everyone. We are here to serve, not to be served.
I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas surrounding this topic. I am fairly certain that I’m not done thinking about this, and I would love to round out my thoughts by hearing from the Universe.