Ginny Wilson-Peters' Blog
The following was written by an MBA student following our first full weekend of Leadership and Personal Development class:
“Absorbing the concepts from class, Ambassador Mary Kramer’s stories and previous lessons of life, leadership reminds me a bit of a trip to San Francisco I took a few years ago. Obviously the Golden Gate Bridge is an iconic image and landmark in San Francisco and even passers-through make an effort to see the giant structure. I wanted to see it as well so I made my way to Nob Hill, a well known neighborhood and then set out to find the famous bridge. The day I took this adventure, as many are in that area, was quite foggy so I couldn’t see the bridge from Nob Hill but I knew generally in what direction I needed to go. At first I could only make out the general impression of the bridge, almost like a shadow, as I descended the hills to the waterfront. Gradually though, the bridge became more and more visible and so did the ocean beyond. The closer and closer I got to that bridge, the more and more clear it became that the bridge was indescribably large and the expanse of ocean beyond was perhaps more magnificent. Leadership, to me is like that morning walk to the waterfront in San Francisco: the closer I got to my objective, the clearer it was that the objective was so much larger than a human can comprehend and the more the endlessness of the rolling ocean put my original objective into context.
I’m not sure I will (or anyone can) ever fully internalize a complete understanding of leadership. It’s probably not even worthwhile to try. When I finally got to the pedestrian access to the Golden Gate Bridge, I decided to study the cable supports and think about the engineering feats of that design. But I couldn’t possibly take in the entire structure, the span, the height, the roadways, the lighting, the views back to San Francisco and the inhuman scale in one brief visit. I think my application of leadership should be similar – purposeful but focused on a specific enough area of my personal life or career that I don’t get lost in fully understanding leadership when there is so much to be done once I apply what is relevant to me.
This, of course, is not to say that learning about leadership is a finite or terminable exercise that I should do once. I was reminded more in one weekend of this class than in any other setting over the past years that I have a passion and interest for lifetime learning. Leadership, to be certain, is something that I am interested in learning about and a skill I hope to develop. But I realize now that I have gone through cycles in my life, work life especially, where I have tried to understand and study leadership at the expense of putting anything I’ve learned into practice. I can now see that it would be far better for me to adopt a more cyclical pattern (maybe the Self-Directed Learning Model) of learning new leadership concepts, applying them in different areas of my life and then adjusting those efforts until they are comfortable and effective.”
By Michael Hass, U of Iowa MBA student, Spring 2012 Leadership class
Thank you, Michael, for letting me share your thoughts!
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I kept trying to disguise it, name it something more positive, but it didn’t work. It continued to gnaw at me until I decided to fully own it: jealousy. In a number of situations, I was feeling jealous of individuals who were accomplishing more than me—in better physical shape, better teachers, better consultants, better stepmoms. You name it, in one way or another, each of these has reared its ugly head in the past few months. And the funny thing is that work-wise I’ve had a very successful 2009 and the prospects for 2010 are even brighter. So Ginny, what’s up with this jealousy thing?
In late December I posted a note on our Facebook fan page that said, “ABUNDANCE* is the word I’m choosing to focus on in 2010. What’s your word for 2010?” And then it hit me in the shower one morning this past week. Jealously comes from a place of scarcity thinking. And scarcity thinking is the opposite of abundance. In times when I was feeling jealous, it’s quite possible that I was also thinking that just because “they” had something I wanted, that meant that I couldn’t have the same thing.
I’m also trying to reconcile the idea of competition and wanting the best for myself. I fell into the hole of confusing competition with jealousy. Competition is a good thing, for me and for everyone. But I want to make sure I am competing mostly with myself—am I doing the VERY best that I can do—and in a way that focuses on the things I’m good at? For me, competition isn’t about looking to beat out someone else, but rather going after what I want. In the process sometimes it will be necessary for me to beat someone else, especially when it comes to obtaining new client work. The difference for me is going after something because I want it, not because I want to prevent someone else from getting it.
Does that make me a weak competitor or a strong one?
What is your word for 2010? If you want to see what others said, check out our Integrity Integrated fan page. http://tinyurl.com/yzoo4vx
Recommended Reading: “Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us” by Daniel Pink. See Dan speak about this in a video at http://tinyurl.com/nfxme9
Good article by Martha Beck about abundance and scarcity thinking: http://www.oprah.com/article/omagazine/200904-omag-beck