Saturday, September 10, 2011

Think like a CEO

Moonlight Bay
Picture Moonlight Bay kindly provided by h.koppdelaney

From the story at the end of the post (The Rabbi’s Gift), a dying monastery was revived to a thriving one, simply by the monks thinking they could possibly be the messiah. The whole environment changed by the monks simply changing their attitudes to themselves, and treating others in the same manner.

In today’s day and age, we live in a competitive world, one struggles with finding purpose and meaning, one struggles with providing enough for the family, one struggles to keep one’s body and mind in shape to be able to do sustain the marathon effort. The hurdles are far too great, far too stressful.

What is the alternative? one can grasp, or one can lead!

I seen grasping happen, I know how it feels like, its like a person in water trying to stay afloat moving drastically and incoherently, it just makes you sink further faster. On the other hand to lead, requires a different approach. It requires you to think listen, understand, think, reflect (aka be mindful :) , act independently, train and nourish the body, mind and spirit everyday.

Like the monks in the story, we require a shift in looking at oneself or a personal reframe. You are not a victim! If you are given challenges, then you are also given the innate strength to endure and overcome them. You are the CEO of your own life, family, work, start believing it and acting that way!

Great CEOs think strategically, as well as tactically, they value relationships, innovation and keep good people around them. They are no-nonsense, and do not waste time and effort on trivial things, they proactively manage risks. They show leadership by understanding what needs to be done and making that happen, because they are personally accountable to the board of directors.  Great CEOs feel the pulse of the organisation, and can detect the areas that need attention, just like a Yogi can detect which part of the body needs to be stretched.

Likewise, we have to think strategically and tactically, stop wasting our time on useless things that don't really have a purpose.  We have to figure out who we admire and befriend them!  their good qualities will soon rub off on you.  You are accountable to yourself, you want to look in the mirror and say that you are beautiful, you want to go to bed with a clear conscious, you want to be the person that other people want to be likeSlowly, slowly, a chain reaction sets off, it affects the community, the work environment, the country and then the planet!  Just like the 5 monks in the story below, impacting the local community just by changing themselves.

Robin Sharma talks about this in his book the Greatness Guide in relation to work “Take personal responsibility for the success of your business. Show up like the entrepreneur. Grow sales, Cut costs. Get the good stuff done. You will shine in your career”. I would add to this, deepen your relationships with your colleagues, start getting in their heads, and under their skin! Then make it your personal mission to do something about it to help, they will appreciate it, and others will soon pick up on it, and even if you don’t get a promotion, you will get the respect and the satisfaction.

Enjoy the story about the Rabbi’s Gift, its one of my favorites….

The Rabbi’s Gift
by Dr Scott Peck from his book “The Different Drum”

“The story concerns a monastery that had fallen upon hard times. Once a great order, as a result of waves of antimonastic persecution in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and the rise of secularism in the nineteenth, all its branch houses were lost and it had become decimated to the extent that there were only five monks left in the decaying mother house: the abbot and four others, all over seventy in age.

Clearly it was a dying order. In the deep woods surrounding the monastery there was a little hut that a rabbi from a nearby town occasionally used for a hermitage. Through their many years of prayer and contemplation the old monks had become a bit psychic, so they could always sense when the rabbi was in his hermitage. "The rabbi is in the woods, the rabbi is in the woods again" they would whisper to each other. As he agonized over the imminent death of his order, it occurred to the abbot at one such time to visit the hermitage and ask the rabbi if by some possible chance he could offer any advice that might save the monastery.

The rabbi welcomed the abbot at his hut. But when the abbot explained the purpose of his visit, the rabbi could only commiserate with him. "I know how it is," he exclaimed. "The spirit has gone out of the people. It is the same in my town. Almost no one comes to the synagogue anymore." So the old abbot and the old rabbi wept together. Then they read parts of the Torah and quietly spoke of deep things.

The time came when the abbot had to leave. They embraced each other. "It has been a wonderful thing that we should meet after all these years, "the abbot said, "but I have still failed in my purpose for coming here. Is there nothing you can tell me, no piece of advice you can give me that would help me save my dying order?" "No, I am sorry," the rabbi responded. "I have no advice to give. The only thing I can tell you is that the Messiah is one of you."

When the abbot returned to the monastery his fellow monks gathered around him to ask, "Well what did the rabbi say?" "He couldn't help," the abbot answered. "We just wept and read the Torah together. The only thing he did say, just as I was leaving --it was something cryptic-- was that the Messiah is one of us. I don't know what he meant."

In the days and weeks and months that followed, the old monks pondered this and wondered whether there was any possible significance to the rabbi's words. The Messiah is one of us? Could he possibly have meant one of us monks here at the monastery? If that's the case, which one? Do you suppose he meant the abbot? Yes, if he meant anyone, he probably meant Father Abbot. He has been our leader for more than a generation. On the other hand, he might have meant Brother Thomas. Certainly Brother Thomas is a holy man. Everyone knows that Thomas is a man of light. Certainly he could not have meant Brother Elred! Elred gets crotchety at times. But come to think of it, even though he is a thorn in people's sides, when you look back on it, Elred is virtually always right. Often very right. Maybe the rabbi did mean Brother Elred. But surely not Brother Phillip. Phillip is so passive, a real nobody. But then, almost mysteriously, he has a gift for somehow always being there when you need him. He just magically appears by your side. Maybe Phillip is the Messiah. Of course the rabbi didn't mean me. He couldn't possibly have meant me. I'm just an ordinary person. Yet supposing he did? Suppose I am the Messiah? O God, not me. I couldn't be that much for You, could I?

As they contemplated in this manner, the old monks began to treat each other with extraordinary respect on the off chance that one among them might be the Messiah. And on the off off chance that each monk himself might be the Messiah, they began to treat themselves with extraordinary respect.

Because the forest in which it was situated was beautiful, it so happened that people still occasionally came to visit the monastery to picnic on its tiny lawn, to wander along some of its paths, even now and then to go into the dilapidated chapel to meditate. As they did so, without even being conscious of it, they sensed the aura of extraordinary respect that now began to surround the five old monks and seemed to radiate out from them and permeate the atmosphere of the place. There was something strangely attractive, even compelling, about it. Hardly knowing why, they began to come back to the monastery more frequently to picnic, to play, to pray. They began to bring their friends to show them this special place. And their friends brought their friends.

Then it happened that some of the younger men who came to visit the monastery started to talk more and more with the old monks. After a while one asked if he could join them. Then another. And another. So within a few years the monastery had once again become a thriving order and, thanks to the rabbi's gift, a vibrant center of light and spirituality in the realm.”

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