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What's Your Mantra?

Apr 13, 2021

In meditation, a mantra is a sound or word repeated to focus attention.  And it can also be used as a statement or slogan that you repeat to guide your mindset.

My Mantra is:  Live.  Love.  Laugh.  Learn.  Lead.

Live in the present moment, because life can change in an instant and you may not be prepared for what it asks of you.

Love your life and the people in it.  It - and they - are precious and you don't know when they will be taken away.

Laugh.  Keep your sense of humor, not matter what.  Find something to laugh at, even in the most challenging circumstances.

Learn.  Grow yourself and learn as much as you can so that you can be of service to others.  Life offers lessons every day, if we are open to them.

Lead.  Rise to the occasion and bring your best self.  Be a good example to those who are watching, even when they are not.  Take ownership and responsibility.

My mantra came to me over a period of years, actually.  It was the result of finding something meaningful in the most painful experience of my young life, when, at age fifteen, my older brother was killed in a motorcycle accident.

At first, as the world shattered around me, I could make no sense out of the profound sense of loss.  Like most, I kept asking why, never receiving a credible answer.  I was sad and scared and angry.  I didn't know how to be.  I didn't know what to do.

For years, this event was what defined me.  Living in a small town where everyone knew what had happened, it was hard to escape.  I remember the initial sense of relief when I went off to college where no one knew my past, and then the guilt for wanting to forget.

One day, I realized I didn't want to be sad all the time anymore and I made a decision.  It was as simple as that.  And that's when the healing really began.  From there, I began to realize the life lessons within my pain.  Today, while I still consider it THE defining moment of my life, I can appreciate what I gained from the experience. 

I have embraced the beauty of life in all its tenuousness.  I am intensely grateful to the people around me who have provided love and support in my life -- no matter what.  I recognize that my sense of humor has helped me through the worst of times, and that has served me well.  Learning is a core value of mine.  I have always enjoyed school and reading and I’ve spent a small fortune on my personal development over the past ten years.  And, I realize more each year, that the true benefit of all that learning is in being of service to others. I love to share what I learn, in the hope that it will help someone else as it helped me. 

Leading is part of my DNA.  Not in the traditional sense of taking charge of things, but rather in the way I intend to conduct my life.  I say "intend" because it doesn't always turn out the way I want, though I try to be deliberate and thoughtful about it.  I know the biggest leadership challenge is leading myself.

I believe leadership is both a responsibility and a privilege.  It is about building your level of influence and using that to do good in the world. It's about helping others think through the challenges life sends their way and offering support, guidance and encouragement. 

My mantra is a quick reminder of what is important to me.  It provides guidance and centering and balance when things get out of whack.  And it's simple to remember, and not always easy to do, so it causes me to stretch.  That's a good thing.

So, what about you?  Do you have a mantra?  A guiding principle?  Something that reminds you who you are and what's important in your life? Something that reminds you where you were and where you are going and how you will get there?

If you have one, please share it with me.  I'd love to hear it.  If not, spend some time thinking about this.  Talking about it.  Writing about it.  Get some clarity about why you are here. 

And, as always, if you feel you need some help on that journey to become a better leader -- for yourself or for others -- let's schedule some time to talk about that.

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