Want Fewer Regrets? Build Your Leadership Inside-Out

 In Team Performance

We often live as if we have all the time in the world. Have you noticed that time only seems to matter when it’s about to run out?

I was reminded of this recently when I got word that a beloved client passed away far too young. Karla Teasley was one of the most smart, talented, caring leaders I have ever known. More important, she was always in touch with her inner spirit and inspired trust.

Yes, Karla was successful. In fact, she was a company hero. The thing that made her stand out was that she did the work to achieve what she dreamed to do. She didn’t just try to be a better leader. She committed to being a great leader. She put time and effort into it all. She exceeded expectations. She tackled impossible projects. She developed others and wished them well as they left her nest and went on to achieve their own incredible success.

She was a solid presence who saw you and valued you and made you feel capable and hopeful. What sticks with me most is she always found a way to personally acknowledge you with a handwritten note, a beautiful email, or simply a kind word.

I guess it’s true that people might remember what you did, but they’ll care a whole lot more about how you made them feel.

As her illness progressed, Karla’s legendary to-do lists changed radically. And then finally came to an eerie and screeching halt.

She was showered with an overwhelming avalanche of cards, letters and yes, handwritten notes, that showed how much she meant to people. A tangible testament to the right relationship and outstanding leadership she modeled for the rest of us.

Karla’s death makes me wonder about so much. In trying to reconcile it, I need to make something good out of it. What has emerged is a renewed commitment to live each glorious day with more intention. In doing that, I am going to remind myself and others that we can’t forget that we each have a beginning, middle and, yes, an inevitable end.

As I think about that, it makes me want to yell in the streets, “Do your work!” Pay attention to what is important. Let people know how much you really do care. And above all, be kind for God’s sake.

Slow Down for Your Own Internal Audit
Today, I want you to do something special by taking a few minutes to tend to your inner self. Look inside and focus more on your spirit. Pause briefly and ask yourself these three questions:

  1. For the sake of what am I working so hard? (Deep down you already know so take the time to truly listen.)
  2. What will be most important to me at the end of my days?
  3. What else does my soul long to complete?

Begin now and use the depth of your wisdom for what will be most important to you at the end of your days. Keep your inner and outer world much more in balance. Be sure the important doesn’t get senselessly buried by the urgent.

Time moves brazenly by.

Overcome the voice that keeps telling you that you have all the time in the world. Make the most of your gifts, passions, and purpose now. Live your life without regrets.

Special Note: I want to take a moment to relay how critically important confidentiality is to coaching ethics. I wrote this tribute with the permission and encouragement of both Karla’s family and her company because everyone agreed how fitting it is to share just how special a leader she truly was.