Following yesterday’s post about Abraham Lincoln’s leadership philosophy it seems appropriate to tell a story about what it means to live the opposite of that.
Once upon a time a man and his son were walking their donkey to market. On the way they passed through several villages.
At the first village the people laughed at them. “You are so stupid”, they said. “One of you should ride the donkey.” That seemed like a good idea, so the son got on the donkey.
Then they came to the second village. “How terrible”, the villagers said, “forcing an old man to walk while the young man takes it easy. The old man should ride.” So the father and son swapped places.
At the next village they found themselves the object of ridicule again. “Idiots!” the people said. “You should both ride the donkey!” So they both got on the donkey.
But at the next village the people threw stones. “You should be ashamed of yourselves! Poor donkey!” they cried. “You should be carrying the donkey, not the other way around.”
You can probably see how this story is going to turn out. At the next village the people told them they should stop carrying the donkey and simply walk to market. So they did.
Different people will always tell you different ‘shoulds’. And you will never be able to make them all happy.
Leadership (as Abraham Lincoln told us) is about knowing what your priorities are, and why they matter to you.
Knowing them and sticking to them will save you wasted time and energy in discussions, and will get you to market faster, the way you want, without a sore back.
Letting go of shoulds is a first step.
Chapter 2 of inner leadership teaches you to spot and avoid the shoulds and other unconscious mis-blinks and misinterpretations that you and the people around you might make about a situation.
Chapters 3 and 4 help you identify and choose what you truly want from the situation (rather than what you think you should).
Chapter 5 gets you clear on why this matters to you (by identifying your purpose and values).
Chapter 6 shows you how to convert your chosen opportunity into a vision that will inspire you and others. A vision of what you truly want, not what you think you should.