Heart of a Leader

Leadership Matters

Not our words but our actions

The world judges us not for who we think we are but for what we actually do!

The statement above is common sense. We all deep down inside know the truth of this sentence. We can translate this statement even more powerfully by saying, “I judge myself not by who I think I am but by what I actually do.”

We are living in extraordinary times. The cycle of boom and bust is about to swing full circle. Like the four seasons, we are beginning to experience the end of one cycle and the rebirth of another.

During this time, the level of words flying around has intensified. The analysis is almost paralyzing. Yet, we are unclear what to really do.

This morning I was listening to an October 21st podcast of Fresh Air with Paul Krugman who recently was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics and is a columnist for the New York Times. He was talking in a very coherent and understandable way about the financial situation and what we might do to change it. Paul is a former colleague of Ben Bernanke the chairman of the Federal Reserve. As the interview with Terri Gross was concluding she asked Paul about his concern based upon the current financial circumstances. He said he was frightened. She asked him why. He said that there was no one who had a better intellectual understanding of what to do in times like these than Ben Bernake. Yet, it appears that even when all the tricks in Mr. Benanke’s book are used they are not working the way he anticipated.

This brings me back to the opening quote. So our best thinking is not working. Why? I suggest that te situation is far simpler than we realize. I believe it is because we have accepted that there is a boom and bust cycle in our economic system. This boom or bust cycle has always revolved around the following factor. Greed is the primary driver in this system. An underlying belief that fosters greed is that expansion (growth in profits, valuations, etc…) can go on indefinitely. When we see signs that this is not the case, fear sets in and will last until a glimmer of hope that a new time of unabated growth appears and greed again sets in.

You may not agree with my simplification, but I believe you will see vestiges of truth in it. This cycle can be changed. It can be changed with both a new mindset and new actions.

The new mindset requires us to examine our desire to buy whatever we want, whenever we want it. This can’t be sustained and will recreate the cycle. The actions are sometimes more challenging to change because the behaviors driving them are habitual. Habits can only be changed with deliberateness and determination. Deliberateness means that we consciously decide what we want to see as an outcome ahead of taking action. Determination means making sure we follow through with the actions we choose.

As for me, I am applying this perspective to my life. My wife and I are looking at everything we do and making sure it fits what’s important to the health and nurturance of our family and community. This has been challenging for us. There have even been moments when the tension has risen to where I will snap hard at her. This is part of our process of uncoupling all the beliefs we have that we would like to hold on to because they are familiar, and stepping into what we know is the right thing NOW.

I wish you well in your own search for what are the right actions for you.

Until later,

Thomas

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