Recently I saw a statistic that said 90% of us turn on some type of electronics (cell phone, tablet, laptop etc…) within five minutes of waking up in the morning. From almost the moment we open our eyes it’s stimulus overload and much of what we read requires some type of response in the form of an action from us. Seemingly, we have this instant need to text back, respond to an email, MT, RT, TY, #FF, follow back or un-follow someone on Twitter, or leave a message after the beep. And then of course there is the rest of our lives of work, school, soccer, shopping, house work, yard work, laundry, cooking, cleaning and if we can squeeze it in a workout now and then. Before we know it it’s 10:00 pm and time for bed from a day that started with our hair on fire and ending with our heads smoldering. We wake up what feels like a few short hours later and its lather, rinse, repeat and the next day lather, rinse, repeat. And so goes life.

So what if at the end of one of these days we had an opportunity to talk and share our experiences from the last 12 hours, especially those that involved another human being? Would they sound like madness with little to no recall of exactly whom we saw, what we discussed, how they were feeling and what they may have needed from us? Or would they be magical in which we remembered every detail of the conversation especially those when someone truly needed help, inspiration, guidance or even a little nudge. Albert Schweitzer reminds us; “In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out…we should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” How many opportunities a day do we have to be one of “those people who rekindle someone’s inner spirit” or what we refer to as a leadership moment?

Over the course of my career and life I have found a few practices that prepare us for leadership moments, and raise the odds that we will both see them, and in turn, make them magical.

  • Be “OK” – We so believe in the need to find our voice first in life before helping others find theirs. The extent to which we are “ok” with who we are and how we are feeling in any moment is directly related to our ability to “rekindle the inner spirit” of someone else.
  • Sort by People over Tasks and Things – Having (and prioritizing) a “people list” to go along with your “to-do” list is an imperative. The to-do lists that never end can become a compulsion where we never lift our heads long enough to see the people opportunities right in front of us.
  • Sort by Others over Self – Leadership is about serving others. Our willingness and readiness to do so begins with our state of mind, what we believe to be true. An orientation toward others needs, wants, desires and dreams ahead of our own is a common characteristic of Servant Leaders or what we call Values Based Leaders.
  • Be PresentMark Nepo tells us; “Have the life you want by being present in the life you have.” Hair on fire is not conducive to present moment awareness, nor is dwelling on the past (which we can’t change) or an obsession with the future (which we can’t predict). Our opportunity to make a difference is “right now”.
  • Look for Opportunities to Lead – This is a practice that I don’t feel gets enough airtime. Interestingly, when I ask rooms full of people how many leadership moments they have on a daily basis the response is always the same – “countless.” Be proactive and look for opportunities, the leadership moments will present themselves to you in droves.

So what of our lives? Are we living them on purpose and making the difference we were put on this earth to do? A difference in someone else’s life in whatever size, shape or form that it might be. Or is the tail wagging the dog where it is all moving so fast that our readiness, willingness, ability, and awareness to rekindle someone’s spirit are more often than not ending in moments of madness. Be ok, sort by people and others over self and tasks and things, be present and look for opportunities to lead. Through these practices I can assure you that more often than not those moments will become magical leadership moments that will ensure you are living a life of meaning, a life that matters.


Mark Fernandes

Mark Fernandes

Having a passion for inspiring people to believe in themselves and become everything they are capable of becoming, Mark works with individuals and organizations to inspire transformation. @MarkSFernandes

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