We Choose Our Leadership By How Much We Give

Two men shared a hospital room. One was allowed to sit up in his bed beside the window for an hour each afternoon; the other had to stay flat on his back.

Every afternoon the man by the window would pass the time by describing all the things he could see outside the window. There was a park with a lovely lake, with the city skyline in the distance. There were trees and flowers and sunshine and clouds and all manner of people doing all manner of things.

As the man by the window described the day’s scenes, the man on the other side would close his eyes and imagine them. It was by far his favorite time of the day.

After the man by the window died peacefully in his sleep one night, the other man was moved beside the window. He pulled himself up slowly to take his first look in weeks at the world outside.

The window, he discovered, faced a blank wall.

Telling the story to a nurse, he wondered why his roommate would have described such varied scenes in place of the wall. And that’s when he learned that the man had been blind—he hadn’t seen the wall any more than the things he’d described.

When times are hard and challenging; we can best overcome our own struggles and limitations by choosing to give as leaders to others:

The more you give, the more you get. It isn’t the command-and-control way of leadership that wins the day. The best leaders get what they have by giving.

The more you care, the more they share. Encouraging others to contribute and collaborate, the best leaders know it’s not how much we give but how we give that matters most.

The more you serve, the more they are committed. Encouraging others brings about commitment, creativity, problem-solving, and productivity.

The more you celebrate, the more victories. Don’t wait for the conclusion of a big project—celebrate the victories, large and small, every day.

The more respect, the more trust. What goes around, comes around. The best leaders give respect and earn trust in return.

The more focus, the more strength. When you focus on strength of others, you are more likely to going to get more engagement from them.

The more vulnerability, the more power: Being vulnerable grants important benefits to those who stay open. The best leaders know the source of power is vulnerability.

The more struggle, the more grace. Loss saves us from ourselves and creates leaders. Leadership is based on the strength that is born from struggle.

The more authentic, the more transparent. Leaders who embrace transparency encourage others to work for their own authenticity and virtue.

The habit of giving enhances the desire to give. Do not concern yourself with how much you receive, just know in your heart it will be returned.

Lead From Within: At the end of the day, the leader who leads from within knows that there is no greater joy than doing something for others. We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.



N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Martina McGowan

    26. Aug, 2014

    Well-said, Lolly. People follow our leadership and remain committed and dutiful to our causes often based on what they can see in us and our own dedication. People will not follow someone who is selfish, narcissistic, inwardly focused or disloyal long or well. What we bring to the table is magnified in those who follow, both good and not so good. It is by our servanthood and good stewardship of our resources, including our people, that we raise up other good leaders.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Alli Polin

    26. Aug, 2014

    What a beautiful story! As leaders, the more we imagine what’s possible, it gives others inspiration to do the same.

    I’ve also come to realize that your point on vulnerability is so often overlooked. Too many leaders think that their leadership requires constant strength and perfection but what it really requires is living their vulnerable truth.

    Thank you for your inspiration!!!


    Reply to this comment
  3. lollydaskal

    26. Aug, 2014


    To be vulnerable is not easy, its the essence of life and yet it takes courage to be vulnerable and that is not always so easy.

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

    Appreciate you.


    Reply to this comment
  4. David Tumbarello

    26. Aug, 2014

    These dualisms are about giving, but I realize that in order to have these opportunities (to give, to care, to celebrate…) we need others in our lives. And we don’t just need others. I mean, I have X hundred contacts on social media but they are not really in my life. In order for someone to be in my life (so I have an opportunity to give) – in order for this, I need to be involved, interested, invested in others. For this reason, I volunteer, I work at relationships, I invite people over & arrange events. And then I have opportunities to give, and by giving we truly live.

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  5. lollydaskal

    26. Aug, 2014

    We can give to strangers and we can give to friends.

    Giving is not limited only to those we know or need.

    Giving to those we are interested in, invested in, involved in, is an added plus.

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. Very inspiring.


    Reply to this comment
  6. Bob Vanourek

    26. Aug, 2014

    Ultimately, there are 2 kinds of people in the world: givers and takers. Each of us should consciously decide what we shall be. I choose to be a giver, just like Lolly.
    Thank you for a wonderful story and wise lessons.

    Reply to this comment
  7. lollydaskal

    26. Aug, 2014

    Bob you are a true GIVER. You inspire me everyday!

    Thanks for your stopping by. Means the world to me.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Hitansu

    26. Aug, 2014

    Great as always

    Reply to this comment
  9. Terri Klass

    26. Aug, 2014

    I loved the story and the wisdom of turning struggle into learning and selflessness.

    We see what we want to see. We share what we want to share. It is only when we lead by seeing the gifts and beauty in others that we lift ourselves up too.

    Powerful yet simple. You are a giver, Lolly and the wisdom you continue to share is extraordinary! Thank you for being you!!


    Reply to this comment
  10. Sunil Jogdeo

    27. Aug, 2014

    Very inspiring one. Few years back I happened to attend Dr. Prakash Amte’s (son of a social activist Dr. Baba Amte who worked on people with leprosy by actually staying with them) orchestra. The stage was dark and it was not possible to know who are the people who are playing the orchestra. The quality of performance was extraordinary. When slowly stage lit up, and dr. amte started sharing information of the performers, it was enlightenment experience. Most of the performers were either blind or had polio or leprosy victims. How can a blind person playing synthesizer perfectly tunes to connect a polio victim person who is singing? How does a blind singer knows where to start and stop and reflect with orchestra during his / her performance? Above all, I wondered, how Dr. Praskash Amte has made it all happen? What kind of leader he would be. Here, perhaps what Lolly has shared comes forth. Give and get in return what you wish. The general scenario looks reverse in the commercial world. People tend to incline more on receiving than giving..thank you Lolly for this inspirational story.

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  11. Panteli Tritchew

    27. Aug, 2014

    A beautiful opening story, Lolly. For me, it illustrates that the best giving comes from generosity of spirit, without expectation of return. With leadership often comes the accoutrements of ROI-Think, and sometimes we forget that generosity comes without expectation. Lovely post.

    Reply to this comment
  12. LaRae Quy

    27. Aug, 2014

    Beautiful example of how our perception of reality can change by simply changing our mindset.

    I love this: “The more struggle, the more grace. Loss saves us from ourselves and creates leaders. Leadership is based on the strength that is born from struggle.”

    Too often, I find that leaders shy away from struggle because it often produces failure…they do not understand that failure is also a perception of their reality that is skewed…if leaders would change their mindset so that struggles, failure, and vulnerability were seen as avenues to growth, they would become the sort of leader we all need….

    Thanks for sharing, Lolly! Great post as always!

    Reply to this comment
  13. David Brooks

    09. Sep, 2014

    Words of Wisdom!

    Thanks Lolly!

    Reply to this comment
  14. Willeke

    02. Feb, 2015

    Wonderful story about the great gift of the blind man. My daily inspiration from you. Thanks for sharing Lolly!

    Reply to this comment
  15. John

    28. Jul, 2015

    Lolly I remember a movie with a similar story as a child. I must ask my parents if they could remember it.

    Great story and thanks for sharing.

    Reply to this comment
  16. yassine nazzal

    17. Feb, 2017

    Really Great article

    Reply to this comment

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