I was at a beautiful coming-of-age celebration this past weekend where one of the most memorable moments was when the father of the woman-to-be shared his words of hope and wisdom for her with the party guests. As I listened to his inspiring advice, I found his message to his daughter to be resonant and timely, and he so kindly allowed me to share it with my professional colleagues, who continue to journey through their careers with vision, values and vigor.
Here is his sound advice for her (and us all):
As you get older, march to the beat of your own drum…not anyone else’s. Be a leader, not a follower…the world is filled with people who follow leaders who have no idea where they are going. Life has many paths you can take…take NONE of them…make your own path in life. There has never been, nor will there ever be another (you)…so make this life uniquely your own. RULES – There isn’t a rule that says you have to follow all the rules. Rules are made by people…people are flawed. And some of those flawed people make flawed rules. This world isn’t perfect. Nor is it usually very fair as you love to point out frequently. If you see something broken, fix it. Only fools believe they cannot change the world.
I have often gotten comfortable and complacent following the rules and the paths of my professional leaders. And I know many of the high achievers I coach and train wonder why they begin to stagnate or lose their sense of success and satisfaction. As this insightful father cautions, it’s because we’re sleep-walking to others’ rhythms, blindly following stale footprints and staying within the carved confines of worn out paths. It takes courage, curiosity and creativity to contribute our own ideas, talents and skills to repair the broken and build the sustainable. And we have to keep reminding ourselves and each other that we can – and must – change the world we work and live in. That is how we can show our sons and daughters that we are living with integrity.
Lee Broekman is a communication coach and trainer with a mission to make the world a better place, one communicator at a time. Her company Organic Communication works with high level leaders and trains decision makers in top organizations to communicate, collaborate and innovate naturally and effectively. Delivering programs in concentrated bursts, with high intensity and elevated engagement, Lee turns powerful content into actionable, applicable tools. Her forthcoming book, Stop Blocking, Start Connecting: 8 Key Skills of Successful Communicators, is available for preorder at 8blockers.com.