MASTER MINDFULNESS: 21st Century Leaders, Listen to the Whispers


Listen to the Whispers_A Best Practice for 21st Century Leadership_TITLE

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

Leland Russell-with Frances HesselbeinIn 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.

Listen to the Whispers-STOP THE NOISEFrances leaned over and spoke softly into my ear. The solution is simple, Leland

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.

Leland Russell-When your Mind is on Overload, Empty Your CupAfter a few moments, the tea rose above the rim and began spilling across the table and onto the man’s clothes. At that moment, he jumped up and shouted, “Enough! Can’t you see my cup is full?”

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.

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If you would like to know more about how I’ve applied Frances’ advice,  let’s connect.

LAR Signatures for website-v1.~ Leland Russell | Cultivating 21st Century Leadership

 MEET LELAND IN ONE MINUTE

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.

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2 thoughts on “MASTER MINDFULNESS: 21st Century Leaders, Listen to the Whispers

  • Rob Grow

    … Having had an illness this last year and working at full pace during it, my cup had truly spilled over! So instead of losing more sleep, I started going to sleep earlier. Instead of setting up several computers, side by side, all running at once … I shut them down … And instead … Read a book. Instead of hating the world and people in it … I smiled and counted the blessings I still have… And I too … Listen … Listen to the whispers.