Standing Like Stone
By Catherine Palin-Brinkworth
"Two things stand like stone…
Kindness in another's trouble,
Courage in your own."
So wrote the Australian poet, Adam Lindsay Gordon.
As I spent some of my holidays walking the beach, watching the waves
and the tides come and go, those words kept coming to me, like the words
of a song you can't get out of your head.
In the chaotic comings and goings of business trends, the cycles, the
swings and roundabouts of corporate life, the values expressed by Adam
Lindsay Gordon can make the difference in succeeding - even thriving - in
that chaos. Ideally, leading the way through it.
That kind of strength underscores capacity for leadership … to be
committed, inspiring and powerfully influential in creating better
outcomes. Whether it's leadership of many others, or simply managing your
own life, the model for leadership relies on a centre that stands like
Firstly, leading through chaos needs Vision - of an alternative
state or outcome, with an idea of how things could be better, and with the
courage to think differently.
Secondly, there needs to be Action. A vision without action is
just a dream, and the primary action required is effective communication,
with empathy and respect; even kindness.
Finally and continually, there needs to be Self-Development, so
that as you grow, your vision grows and so do your actions. It's a
trustworthy model that has aided many in achieving success.
Self-Development is essential if you want to be successful.
Self-Development enhances confidence and Self-Belief. One of my great
lessons in management was what has become Progress Leadership Principle
#1: People can only ever perform up to the level of their belief in
To thrive in a chaotic environment people need direction, clarity,
skills, incentives and support. But they must believe they can do it if
they are to succeed. If you are in a role where you manage other
people, you can encourage their self-development by helping them to know
themselves, their proven and potential strengths and their current
perceived limitations. Then help them build themselves, through positive
communication and on-going encouragement. Your kindness and support will
help build their self-belief. Look back at your own Self-Development.
Probably it has been fastest and easiest when someone was kind enough to
Interestingly, when you believe in your people, they will believe in
you. This shared positive reinforcement can help you reach all kinds of
positive outcomes that otherwise could be difficult to achieve.
Occasionally when 'techies' or strictly 'left-brainers' hear this, the
response is "Oh yeah, that's the soft stuff!" For sure,
Self-Development is often described as a soft skill. But I reckon (and
you'll agree if you've been doing it) that looking inside yourself and
setting about developing that self, is one of the hardest things we can
ever do. Soft skills can be the hardest skills to master, with infinite
variables involved, but the outcomes are well worth the effort.
So, is this realistic?
Adam Lindsay Gordon challenges impersonal corporate behaviour don't you
think? Do kindness and courage really stand like stone in the tough cold
hard world of business? Well, I believe they do.
Here are some suggestions:
- Each day choose someone who wouldn't normally expect it from you and
do them a kindness.
- Each time a choice arises take the path that requires extra courage
in order to achieve greater success.
About the author: Catherine Palin-Brinkworth is
an international presenter, consultant and author on business and personal
success strategies. She holds a Masters Degree in Social Ecology and is a
Certified NLP Practitioner.
A powerful, inspirational presenter with practical and
proven success skills and strategies, Catherine is in constant demand as a
keynote speaker. Her web site is www.catherinepalinbrinkworth.com
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