Leaders are Learners
It started with a book bag we found at Barnes & Noble that read, “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” – Joseph Addison. We followed it with a bookmark we distributed to our LeadFORWARD clients that read, “Leaders are Readers.” We were obviously on a clear path of emphasizing the importance of reading.
We often look at reading, and education in general, as a way to differentiate ourselves, to get ahead, to accumulate power – and unfortunately, we sometimes rig the system so that those opportunities exist for the fortunate few. Even so, I am still surprised at how little learning many of us do, even when we have the opportunity.
And while I love to read and learn for the personal value, it occurred to me that reading and learning are much broader and serve a larger purpose. We should learn so that we can broaden our perspectives, so we can adapt, but also so that we can eliminate injustices, and provide opportunities for others to have a better life experience along the way.
The adage “knowledge is power” is not limited to advancing our individual agendas; if it were, it would be too narrow of a scope for leaders who are truly wanting to make a lasting difference. Those leaders know that good leadership begins with lifting others into their best selves.
We must learn with an eye toward questioning our deeply held and sometimes limiting beliefs. Learning can open so many doors in our psyches – it can be both a springboard for us to value and celebrate differences, as well as an opportunity to recognize that at our core we are all the same. We are loving beings, wanting to be seen, heard, and recognized for the unique gifts we can bring to this tapestry of 7 billion people.
Take a strategic pause this week and reflect on what you are learning about yourself, others, and the world. Are you challenging yourself to broaden your perspective and beliefs to truly make a positive difference for everyone?
I continue to fall short in this pursuit, but remain passionate and persistent to be open to learning new ways to contribute positively to everyone. Maybe that will be our next book bag: “Learning … to contribute.” – Ralph Simone