One of my passions is quality leadership. I support those who are willing to dole it out effectively.
A Theologian, Bruce Sanguin, gave a farewell message to his congregation on April 28, 2013. For 15 years, he had ministered with seemingly transformational skill to the parishioners of Canadian Memorial in Vancouver, B.C.
If I had known Rev. Sanguin existed before my discovery this morning, I would have sought his brand of leadership practiced only a neighbourhood pond away.
As I read his farewell message (he doesn’t use the word “sermon”), I discovered spiritual maturity laced with a leader’s confidence. He inventoried his own leadership:
…”If I have not evoked this deep hope of redemption alongside a deep fear that it will ask too much, then I will have failed. In the end, for some it is clear that the words of my mouth and my actions asked too much. As I just made clear, I do not regard this as failure, but rather a risk of leadership worth taking.”
From reading his entire message, I believe Bruce Sanguin expects a great deal more from himself – a trait I respect in leaders.
Being on a biographical binge the past while, I recently rushed into our dazzling new library and grabbed a thick autobiography by Richard Branson: “Losing my Virginity”. As I checked out, I wondered what aspect of soul I could possibly gain by reading about a billionaire entrepreneur who looked like an aging California surfer.
Was I surprised! Richard Branson surely possessed leadership skills from his first breath. In spite of dyslexia and a challenging school life, without anger Richard took every opportunity to live his dreams. He ignored the nay sayers and he had many – none being amongst his loving and supportive family.
As he matured, he practiced endless patience with humanity’s inability to recognize good leadership skills. He ignored its disinclination to support the use of his.
When one of Richard’s competitors turned nasty, he maintained a just and merciful attitude toward the people involved. He could have exposed them and they knew it. In spite of massive losses caused by these people, he chose the high road. He kept his defense out of the public eye by not displaying the proof that would have damaged them professionally, politically and personally.
His tolerance, trust and determination paid off abundantly. New opportunities rose consistently and his diversity broadened. In spite of endless challenges, Richard’s faith in himself and his belief in the goodness of mankind never seemed to falter. As he accumulated wealth, Richard began doing good works. On one such project in Africa, he met Nelson Mandela.
This introduction began his work on another dream. He believed our struggling planet needed the experience, wisdom and leadership of significant world elders. Peter Townshend agreed. Richard and Peter approached Mandela to seek his agreement and interest.
“The Elders are independent global leaders, brought together by Nelson Mandela, who offer their collective influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity.”
Bishop Tutu was their Chair until May of 2013 at which time he retired. The new Chair is Kofi Annan.
- The Elders
- Honorary Elders
With powerful people like Richard Branson and Peter Townshend acting as catalysts and supporters, I wondered how I could possibly be of service. Then I realized – with The Elders at the helm, our global willingness could provide some of the wind needed for their sails – even if its only in the form of a daily prayer. I recently learned it only takes 1% of the world’s population to live in an attitude of Love in order to tip the scales and turn this globe onto its quality axis.
Therefore, I hope The Elders will set the course and ask world leaders to take stock. May it evoke “a deep fear that it will ask too much” of them. The fear belongs with them, not in the lives and hearts of their people.
Please take the risk, Blessed Elders. Ask much of our world leaders. Talk, talk, talk. It’s time to ASK.
It just may be the axis-tipper we’ve been waiting for.