Tag Archives: selflessness

Selflessness

The question of selflessness was raised in response to a prior post. The answer that I have chosen follows the path of servant-leadership.

“The servant-leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve. Then conscious change brings one to aspire to lead. The best test is: do those served grow as persons; do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?” Robert K. Greenleaf, The Servant Leader, 1970

That quote by Greenleaf nearly defines the role of a coach. The goal of a coach is to enable, encourage, acknowledge and nurture change in others. The coach serves others as they develop themselves. This is true of a leader as well and the two roles, coach and leader, are distinguished only by the role. A leader is often viewed as the person in front of the crowd. The coach could be viewed as a member of the crowd that helps the leader grow in becoming a better servant. The view is that from leader the next logical step is coach, helping others become more of who they are.

The servant-coach fits this description, “Servant Leadership deals with the reality of power in everyday life – its legitimacy, the ethical restraints upon it and the beneficial results that can be attained through the appropriate use of power.” New York Times (October 2, 1990)

Being selfless is defined as having, exhibiting, or motivated by no concern for oneself; unselfish (thefreedictionary.com). A servant leader, a coach in their ultimate role is an act of selflessness. Attaining the wisdom and taming the ego are two important traits that must be continually developed to be good at leadership or at coaching.

When we are prepared to ask of ourselves, “I am ready to seek a future different from the past.” we are stepping into the realm of personal and deep change. Those who are ready to seek a future that is radically different than the past may want to have a coach assist them in that transition. What does the future look like? How will I be prepared to face the new future I am creating?

Can you answer with authenticity the question, “Do I love what I see inside of me?”, if not then there is room for growth, change and new possibilities.

Illusions

An excerpt from “the illusionless man” by Allen Wheelis

“Once upon a time there was a man who had no illusions about anything. While still in the crib he had learned that his mother was not always kind; at two he had given up fairies; witches and hobgoblins disappeared from his world at three; at four he knew that rabbits at Easter lay no eggs; and at five on a cold night in December, with a bitter little smile, he said good-bye to Santa Claus. At six when he started school illusions flew from his life like feathers in a windstorm: he discovered that his father was not always brave or even honest, and that presidents are little men, that the Queen of England goes to the bathroom like everybody else, and that his first grade teacher, a pretty round faced young woman with dimples, did not know everything, as he had thought, but thought only of men and did not in fact know much of anything. At eight he could read, and the printed word was a sorcerer at exorcising illusions – only he knew there were no sorcerers. The abyss of hell disappeared into the even larger abyss into which a clear vision was sweeping his beliefs. Happiness was of course a myth; love a fleeting attachment, a dream of enduring selflessness glued onto the instinct of a rabbit. At twelve he dispatched into the night sky his last unheard prayer. As a young man he realized that the most generous act is self-serving, the most disinterested inquiry serves interest; that lies are told by printed words, even by words carved in stone; that art begins with a small “a” like everything else, and that he could not escape the ruin of value by orchestrating a cry of despair into a song of lasting beauty; for beauty passes and deathless art is quite mortal. Of all those people who love illusions he lost more than anyone else, taboo and prescription alike; and as everything became permitted nothing was left worthwhile.”

That is a description of a life that is empty, empty of hope, happiness, joy, and a future.

Find happiness in what you do and in who you are. Seek joy in what you do. Chart a path that is filled with joy and follow it.