Whispers are always messages, and if you don’t hear the message, the message turns into a problem. And if you don’t handle the problem, the problem turns into a crisis. And if you don’t handle the crisis, it becomes a disaster. ~ Oprah Winfrey
In my 21st Century Leadership journey, I have had the great privilege of friendship with an extraordinary human being, Frances Hesselbein. She is one of the most highly respected experts in the field of contemporary leadership.
Frances serves as President and CEO of The Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute, and Editor-In-Chief of Leader to Leader, an award-winning quarterly journal that brings leaders together to address strategic issues. She is the author of “Hesselbein on Leadership” and “My Life in Leadership,” and co-editor of 27 other books published in 30 languages. She was awarded the United States of America’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for her innovative leadership of Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., and for serving as a pioneering role model for women, diversity, and volunteerism.
So when Frances speaks, I listen.
One night we were talking about the cacophony that hijacks our attention and makes reflection so difficult. “There is so much noise,” I lamented. “Opinionated pundits are jabbering non-stop on TV about a whole world seemingly run amuck. If we add it up, it’s more than overwhelming. We are being bombarded by so much about what is going on, it’s sometimes hard to know where we are going.”
“What can we do about it?” I asked.
“Stop the noise for a while and listen to the whispers. If you don’t, you will miss many important messages.”
When I look back at my life, I realize that there was always a still voice speaking to me. I made my mistakes when I didn’t listen. A few years ago, Oprah Winfrey had a similar insight.
Whispers are always messages, and if you don’t hear the message, the message turns into a problem. And if you don’t handle the problem, the problem turns into a crisis. And if you don’t handle the crisis, it becomes a disaster.
Empty Your Cup
There is a story, often told, about a very busy man who came to a Zen master seeking wisdom. As he entered the room, the master smiled and softly suggested that they share a cup of tea. Without pausing, he began to pour tea into the man’s cup.
The master stopped pouring and smiled again. “Your mind is like this tea cup, so full that nothing more can be added. If you want wisdom, empty your cup.”
How can you empty your cup? Begin by paying attention to your breath, and becoming present in the moment. Observe your thought waves as they come. Notice them, but let them flow by without judgment. Stay focused on your breathing. Slow it down. Allow your body and your mind to relax.
These are the first steps for emptying your cup, simply ATTENDING to the moment by relaxing physically and mentally. As your cup empties, you will be able to listen to the whispers.
If you would like to know more about how I’ve applied Frances’ advice, let’s connect.
~ Leland Russell | Cultivating 21st Century Leadership
LELAND RUSSELL is founder and CEO of GEO Group Strategic Services, a firm that cultivates 21st Century Leadership. Leland helps exceptional leaders shape smart solutions and accelerate superior results with powerful, proven methods.
Leland has built a stellar performance track record with a wide range of Fortune 500 organizations, mid-size firms, and non-profits. His typical clients are CEOs, business leaders, and mission-critical teams.
[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]
© 2017 Leland Russell | All Rights Reserved