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The Most Important Lesson I’ve Ever Learned

Within the last couple of months, I gained some clarity on what is the single most important core value for me – the number one filter for every decision that I make.  This simple filter has absolutely transformed my life on so many levels, and I believe that it is very useful in terms of becoming a highly effective leader who inspires greatness in others. 

I’ve found that the more closely I live up to this ideal, the more magical life becomes.  Success in growing my business seems to be directly proportional to the degree to which I live up to this ideal.  More important, the more closely I live up to this ideal the more happy I am.  I often feel as though I am truly living in heaven on Earth.
I had been using this filter since about 2003 when I began living and practicing as a monk.  However, I had this particular value split up into a few other words that I listed as separate on my list of core values.  Recently, I realized that I could summarize these top three core values into one question:  How will this help me to serve others?Although I certainly don’t live up to this ideal perfectly, moving in this direction has been life-changing.
To apply this tool, we simply filter every decision we make through the question: How will this help me to serve others?  To put it another way, we are essentially giving up any concern for ourselves other than ensuring that we are doing what we need to in order to be in the best position to serve others.  We make an effort to only consume or do what we need to do to ensure that we are happy and healthy, which means that we may give up some of our wants.
So, I’m not suggesting that we spend all of our waking moments actively serving other people.  The vast majority of us would burn out pretty quickly if we tried to do that. 
What I am suggesting is that if we can’t make a clear link between what we’re doing and how it will help us in some way to serve others, then we simply don’t do it.
For instance, some of us may need to see a movie every now and then to recharge our batteries.  But do we need to see 3 movies a week?  Probably not.  That time could almost certainly be better spent elsewhere.
I don’t think there’s any magic answer for all people as to what the right balance is for doing things to recharge us, doing things to improve our capacity to serve, and actively serving others.  However, I’m very confident that we can all find the right balance for ourselves if we simply start to apply the filter of “How will this help me to serve others?”
I’m also quite certain that if you start applying this filter, you will notice some amazing things start to happen in your life.  You’ll be happier and you’ll be a more effective leader who serves and inspires greatness in others.
What are some ways that you might be applying this already?

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Inspiring Story of a Student Leader

Happy Tuesday!!

This video interview includes a very inspiring story of a college student who was not doing so well and ended up transforming his life, the lives of numerous students and faculty members at his college, and the lives of many people in a city in Uganda.  The story begins at the 5:20 mark.

The story is shared by Dr. David Howell, the servant leadership chair at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, who I interviewed recently.  There are also plenty of other gems on the essence of great leadership in this interview, so be sure to check out the whole video when you have about 20 minutes.  It’s well worth it!

Did you like this post?  To receive The Ultimate Leaders E-Zine for FREE, just Click Here.  It includes all my blog posts, interviews with great leaders, and other resources to help you become the Ultimate Leader.  

A Starting Point – Who Are The Ultimate Leaders?

Dear Friend,
Welcome to The Ultimate Leaders!  Thanks for visiting!
The purpose of this blog is to serve as a resource for people who aspire to become what I call the Ultimate Leader, which I define below, and to help build a worldwide community of highly effective leaders who serve and inspire greatness in others.
Here’s what you’ll find on this blog:
  • A wide variety of ideas, tools, inspiration for becoming a better leader and a better human being (to me the two go hand in hand)

Where will these ideas, tools, and inspiration come from?

  • Some will come from what I’ve learned on my journey as a prisoner, monk, and social entrepreneur
  • Some will come from highly successful leaders via interviews and guest posts 
Who Are The Ultimate Leaders?
The Ultimate Leader may be a highly effective manager who leads a successful organization, but there is no requirement to have a title or position of authority.  The Ultimate Leader is always leading by his or her example, whether or not she/he has a title or position of authority, and people naturally want to follow her/him.
I define the Ultimate Leader as someone who is committed to continuously growing to become the best human being she/he can be, who is committed to serving others, and who inspires true greatness in the people around her/him.
Grow

The Ultimate Leader is someone who is passionate about personal growth in all areas, including:
  • Becoming as competent and knowledgeable as possible about one’s profession
  • Becoming as competent and knowledgeable as possible about how to be an effective manager and leader
  • Always doing the right thing, even when it’s painful in the short term to do it
  • Becoming more kind, compassionate, generous, empathetic, patient, forgiving,  honest, humble, and trusting
Serve

The Ultimate Leader is someone who understands that to lead is to serve others.  The Ultimate Leader filters every decision through the question: How will this help me to serve others? (or aspires to move in that direction). 
This mentality of serving includes:
  • Serving the people around us: helping them to meet their personal and professional needs
  • Serving our community
  • Making sure that we do what we need to (not necessarily want to) to ensure that we are happy and healthy and best able to serve others
Inspire

The Ultimate Leader inspires the people around her or him to achieve true greatness because she or he provides an example of being truly great.  The Ultimate Leader also knows that by lifting others up and inspiring them to become better than they ever thought they could be, we are helping to ensure our success as leaders.
Why Are They the Ultimate Leaders?
The reason I call a leader like the one defined above the “Ultimate Leader,” is that such a leader is not only highly effective in terms of leading other people, such a leader lives a deeply meaningful and enjoyable life that is rich beyond measure.
I hope that this blog helps you in your efforts to become the Ultimate Leader.
I also hope that you’ll become part of the community and share your thoughts via comments on this blog, comments on our The Ultimate Leaders E-Zine page, or by submitting content for consideration as a guest post.
With a smile,
matt

Did you like this post?  To receive The Ultimate Leaders E-Zine for FREE, just Click HereIt includes all my blog posts, interviews with great leaders, and other resources to help you become the Ultimate Leader.