Thoughts on Authentic Leadership
By John P. Schreitmueller
About every 5 years I subject myself to a routine procedure so the experts can have a look at my quirky GI track. We can dispense with the details. Suffice to say preparation for the procedure, as I am certain all those who have participated in its pleasures will agree, is miserable.
During the weeks before the procedure I felt wrapped in a cloak of negativity. I tried to hide it, but it was there. Fear can play games on the mind. What if things do not go well? What if? And then the day arrived.
In the hospital as they wheeled me into the room where the procedure was to take place, I said a prayer. “We’re putting you to sleep now,” the nurse specialist said softly. “Wow.” Then nothing.
When I awoke I was looking into the smiling face of my friend Mario Ravry, M.D., the finest gastrointestinal physician I have ever known. “You did great, Jack. Clean as a whistle. Take it easy for the rest of the day and eat what ever you’d like.” Not long afterwards my daughter gave me a ride home. She even brought me a sub from one of our favorite places to eat in the car (by that point I was starved). And she was smiling too.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
The veil of fear and negativity lifted. I felt instead a sense of profound gratitude. Not euphoria. Gratitude. The feeling reminded me of the joy I experienced as I boarded the “Freedom Bird” to take me home to the United States at the conclusion of my tour of duty overseas in the Marines so many years ago.
This time, topics that seemed to plague me before the event – paying down debt, funding retirement, business issues – faded in their importance. The gratitude produced a welcomed sense of confidence and optimism. I am determined to hang on to this special gratitude, especially as everyday pressures and stresses attempt to replace it with negativity.
The experience of last week was a wake-up call. My game plan literally recalibrated… for the better. I’d like to pass along a few recalibration reflections you might consider as another workday begins:
- In the final analysis, what we really have is our faith, those we love and care about, the measure of health with which we are blessed, and the precious present. Protect and cherish these with intensity.
- When, suddenly, it’s just you and God in the room staring at potentially really high stakes, no one cares how much money you have, your title, or whether or not you live in a gated community. Business issues and money issues are always solvable. There are far more important things to think about.
- When we act out of gratitude, the impossible is possible. When we act out of fear and negativity, possibilities are restricted.
- Prayer works.
- When you take care of yourself you are far more able to give to others. You become more attractive. So handle yourself gently. There are no brownie points for men and women who hold themselves in contempt because of… (insert limitations, regrets or mistakes here).
- Say thank you. Say it often. Say it for no apparent reason.
I can still feel the sun warm on my face as I left the hospital and saw my daughter there, waiting to take me home. The 4th of July weekend was about to begin. Thank you.
John P. Schreitmueller, PCC, ECP-BC is CEO of Resolute Consulting Group LLC. His Atlanta-based practice specializes in helping business owners, executives and professionals identify and achieve their authentic business and personal goals.