In recent months I’ve talked at different times with two leaders, each facing the loss of his job because of a corporate merger or acquisition. Although their situations were the same, their responses could not have been more different.
One was having a terrible time, to the point that he had even considering killing himself.
The other was excitedly planning what to do next to create a new way to be successful.
It led me to wonder: What were the variables that led to such widely different responses?
The first leader—the one who was struggling—had up to this point lived a charmed life. A perfect childhood in a loving, stable home, the best schools, graduation from a top college followed by a great job obtained with his father’s assistance. He had married his college sweetheart and they had a beautiful family—adorable twins, a boy and girl—with a fantastic home and even a luxury vacation home.
The second leader came from a very different background. His parents had been divorced, and his childhood was often lonely. Money was scarce and he always had an after-school job. After graduation his only option for continuing his education was a city college, where he continued to work nights to put himself through. After graduation he got a good entry-level job and made his way quickly up the ladder through hard work and dedication, eventually becoming global leader of his business unit. He married a woman he had met at a soup kitchen, and they had two wonderful sons.
And there, in their stories, I saw the difference.
It was about experiencing struggle and challenge, and coping and learning from them.
Each time we take a risk and it fails we have another opportunity to begin again.
Each time we face a difficulty we can stand up and try again.
Each time we plan and fail and try again, we are building inner resources.
And as far as I can see, the door into one’s own strength, including perhaps the most precious gift, of all, our own real self.
Lead From Within: Heart-based leaders have a whole library of inner resources they can tap into and bounce back and move forward with success and strength.