Magic happens whenever there are engagement and genuine connection; let’s expanded on this winning strategy.
Another year has passed me by… And I’m still in the dark ‘Cause I can’t seem to find the light alone – “Man in the Wilderness,” by Styx
We’re at the 11th hour of the 11th month of a year like no other. From time to time, the sentiment for all of us has been, “What else could 2020 possibly bring?” During those times, we are like that person in the wilderness—wandering along, never quite knowing why—trying to make sense of it all.
Yesterday, my wife, and I took a long walk on a local beach, stepping away to find meaning amid today’s unsettled waters. Never would we have suspected that the perspective we sought was right around the next cove—where we came upon a young couple standing at the shore. At their feet, etched in sand, were the couple’s names and “4ever Together,” surrounded by a heart. The woman held up her left hand so that her ring caught the sun’s rays just at the right angle and sparkled, as she snapped selfies.
They were newly engaged, as it turned out. Watching them, we were transported to a different time when we had our whole future ahead of us and everything seemed possible—even though we had no idea what that could be. Leslie turned to me and said, “See that sparkle between them? I know they’re going to make it.”
That’s the magic that happens whenever there is engagement and genuine connection. It’s the light that can’t be extinguished no matter what life throws at us.
For all of us, coming together is ultimately all about transforming finite self-interest into infinite shared interest. How does this happen? First and foremost, through purpose and then much more. Most people want to be connected to something bigger than themselves. They want to be loved; they want to know that what they do matters to someone else. They want to grow; they want to be recognized. They want to be seen and heard—and, yes, they want to belong.
Whether personally or professionally, we all search for the same basic things: purpose, love, and happiness. Here are some thoughts:
- Catching people doing things right. We have a choice: critique or construct; divide or unite. I received a call this week from someone who was being reprimanded because, ironically, he was not handing out enough reprimands to others. It was quite simple for him. As he told me, “It’s 2020. This is not the time to dampen spirits. It’s the time to enlighten, to elevate, to inspire.” It’s like what management guru Ken Blanchard has said: we need to catch people doing something right.
- Finding our why. For some of us, in different ways and at different times, we need to stop trying to make sense of 2020. Instead, we need to have a sense of purpose for 2021—an overarching “why.” Purpose brings us out of the wilderness and into a new light, a new beginning. But it does take some effort. The late John McKissick, America’s winningest football coach, shared with us the wise words of his father: “As my daddy used to say, ‘Son, if you don’t put something in the bucket, how are you going to get anything out of it?’” With a sense of purpose, we need to ask ourselves: What are we willing to put in the bucket today to help ourselves and others?
- Showing love… I can still remember that phone call. It was about three years ago, while my family and I were living in London for a few months. I had just flown to Ireland to visit our team there, and I was in a cab. The person calling me out of the blue was Richard Ferry, one of the two pioneering founders of our firm; we had not spoken in some time. I can’t even recall exactly what he told me, but I remember vividly the love in his voice as Richard expressed his pride for how far our firm had come. It wasn’t about him; it wasn’t about me—it was all about our 10,000 colleagues around the world. Even today, the memory of that call lifts me up. All of us want to belong—we all want to be loved. It’s a timeless truth that resonates more deeply in challenging times. When we tell people, “We couldn’t have done it without you,” what we’re really saying is, “You are loved.”
- …And pursuing happiness. It is the ultimate pursuit. In the United States, it is our inalienable right, as the Declaration of Independence promises us. And so, we chase after what we believe will make us happy, usually things like money, possessions, leisure time, adventure, even a job title. We tell ourselves that when we get this, can afford that, arrive there, we will be happy. Yet, it often doesn’t turn out that way. This year, we know all too well that everything we cherish can be gone, in seconds. A colleague recently shared a heartbreaking story about a child’s drug addiction—“losing a child who is still alive”—and then, after much worry and sadness, the almost indescribable joy of that child’s return. Can anything else compare?
After all, happiness is not given to us; it is recognized by us. It’s not about chasing tomorrow’s promise, but rather comes from savoring today.
Contributing writer: Gary Burnison, CEO, Korn Ferry
Cliff Locks is a trusted confidant to CEOs, C-Level Exec, and high-potential employees to help them clarify goals, unlock their potential, and create actionable strategic plans.
Certified Professional Board of Director and Advisor.
I am a trusted confidant and advisor available by Zoom and by phone to be your right-hand man, who will make a significant contribution and impact on your way to success.
As a Trusted Confidant Advisor, I support you, along with your company’s strategic and annual operating plan. This plan may include marketing, sales, product development, supply chain, hiring policies, compensation, benefits, performance management, and succession planning.
Most successful leaders enjoy talking to someone about their experiences, which is why most develop a close relationship with a Trusted Confidant—a person with whom they feel free to share their thoughts, concerns, and ideas without fear of sharing too much or being judged by the people they lead, or their colleagues and superiors. I am a sounding board who will help you to better develop and see your ideas through to fruition.
The most effective Executive find confidants who complement their strengths and sharpen their effectiveness. Bill Gates uses Steve Ballmer in this way; Warren Buffett turns to vice chairman Charlie Munger. In the end, both the Executive and their organizations benefit from these relationships.
As your trusted confidant, I am always by your side, holding your deepest secrets and never judging. Everything discussed is held in complete confidence.
What many executives feel is missing from their busy life is a trusted business person who understands the holistic complexity of both their business and personal life.
I strive to provide solid financial, business, and family expertise and serve as a dispassionate sounding board, a role I like to call “Executive Confidant.”
By holding a safe place for the Executive to work on life path issues as well as direction, I repeatedly see remarkable benefits as personal values become integrated with wealth and family decisions, enhancing a more meaningful life.
As an Executive Confidant, I welcome a confidential conversation about the most important issues facing the business leader, including:
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When I do my job well, I facilitate positive action in both your professional and personal life. This consistently has a positive benefit on impacting people within the sphere of your influence.
The job of an Executive can be lonely. For various reasons, confiding in colleagues, company associates, family members, or friends presents complications. Powerful, successful, and wealthy individuals often isolate themselves as a protective reaction because of their inability to find people they can trust and confide in.
Successful people are often surrounded by many people, yet they insulate and isolate themselves to varying levels of degree. This isolation factor is not often discussed in the same context because the assumption is that success and wealth only solve problems. The false belief is that it does not create more problems, when, in fact, sometimes it creates a unique set of new challenges. Success and wealth do not insulate you from the same pitfalls that the everyday person faces. It may give you access to better solutions perhaps, and that is what I can help you achieve. Financial business success can create unique vulnerabilities, often overlooked as most people feel that the “problems” of the wealthy are not real-life problems.
The Executive Confidant can be particularly helpful when:
• Aligning life priorities with the responsibilities of wealth. • Wanting more meaning and purpose in life. • Desiring a candid and experienced perspective. • The answers often come from within, and we cannot arrive at them easily. • Clarity often comes into focus, with skilled questions and guided discovery. The right questions can be the first step in achieving ideal outcomes.
Who can you turn to when you need to find clarity? Who is your “Executive Confidant”?
Referrals to a team members or family members are always welcome.
Email me: [email protected] or Schedule a call: Cliff Locks
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