I write this as I’m flying across the great pond – from Athens to New York. I had the honor of spending the last two weeks with sixty-four incredible kids. A week in Italy with thirty-two high school students and another week in Greece with thirty-two international teenagers. It is amazing how much we can learn about ourselves when we pour our heart into learning about others.
I’ve spent the better part of my career learning, writing and teaching about the power of servant leadership. About the impact heart-led leadership has on the lives of people that choose to follow us. Sometimes my message falls on deaf ears. And sometimes it falls on open hearts. There is something beautiful about kids. They are hungry to learn. They are thirsty to be listened to. They are starving to be heard. And they are wanting to be led by a different kind of leadership philosophy.
I shared with our Global Youth Leadership Academy participants that the four most powerful words in leadership are: IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU.
It’s about others. It’s about love. And it’s about serving, rather than being served.
I never understood those four words when I was seventeen years old. Or when I was twenty-seven. Or even thirty-seven. At forty-seven years of age, I’m finally understanding the impact we have on others when we lead with our hearts.
How would our relationships be different if we lived these four words? How would our marriages be different if we truly served our spouses, rather than waiting to be served? And what kind of loyalty would we build with our employees, teammates and customers if they truly knew we put them first.
Here’s what it all comes down to – folks don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. And it’s not about you. It’s not about me. It’s about others. I’m so grateful these sixty-four kids are learning this now – when they are young. Their impact on others will be tremendous because of it. And I’m in awe of what sixty-four kids taught me while eating pizza and spanakopita for two weeks!