|Cutting Edge Ideas from 2500 Years Ago|
The Real Ambassadors
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others."
— Nelson Mandela
In my travels this past month, one word has leapt out at me from salespeople and managers throughout Corporate America, seeming to hang in the air wherever I turned: survival. We may try to avoid it, but the nastier side of business is rearing its ugly head. Political squabbles, swipes at management and fingerpointing are on the rise. All of us seem to be focused on one thing: making sure we're not part of the roadkill.
In times of fight or flight, though, there
is a middle way: that of taking care of
others. Though it requires the fortitude and
presence of mind to step back from one's own plight
and look at the much larger context of what is going on
in our collective lives, being a generous, positive, even
courtly force in threatening times can open a path of
richness in which we can surprise ourselves.
By adopting the middle way we become the Real Ambassadors to the business world.
It sounds hokey, but let me ask you a question: if the money started flowing freely again, do you think you, your colleagues and bosses, your customers, would be happy? My bet is the answer would be "no." The other day a colleague and I were discussing the boom times of the late 90's and we both remarked that people didn't seem particularly happy during that period, though it's common practice right now to look back on it fondly.
The legacy of the past decade of excess followed by scarcity is a cynicism and sickness of spirit that will not soon go away. Honestly take a look around you and remember your own private discussions of the past six years or so. When was the last time you had a hopeful discussion about the future? When was the last time you believed, deep down, in your own career?
We have a chance right now to lead what I'll call the Real Recovery: the recovery of spirit that always precedes positive change in the world. It's time to extrapolate from Brubeck's fundamental point: the best gift you have to give the business world is, in essence, You.
So how, then, does one become an Ambassador? Here are some tips:
But wait a minute. What about the numbers? We all want to be good citizens and take care of those around us, but we're in survival mode here — what about our necks?
I promised you that this newsletter would help you get results and keep morale on even keel — regardless of what was going on around you. So let's do this: Follow the above advice for awhile. Call me in a year or two and let me know how rich in every way your life has been between now and then. If the results haven't been positive, I will come to your home and teach you and your significant other my entire dance syllabus from 1959-1969, with some smokin' 40's swing thrown in for good measure.
For those of you who observed my meager gambling habits at Caesars Palace during COMDEX days, you know I'm as conservative a bettor as you're likely to find, so don't get out those dancing shoes yet. I'm willing to bet that, as you focus your energy on taking care of others, your own needs will be fulfilled, you'll feel more powerful rather than less, and the shining light of your spirit will begin to lift others and help get this Real Recovery off the ground.