A decade ago, I met a woman who served as an instructor at the United States Chamber of Commerce Institute of Organizational Management. In 2000, I graduated from the program for Chamber of Commerce Executives which took place in Charleston, South Carolina. There we discussed the means by which we could be “masters” of our given professions. Throughout the program which took place for a week over four years, we discussed topics ranging from ethical leadership to volunteer development. Perhaps the message which made the most impact on me was a piece shared by one of our instructors on the Paradoxical Commandments of Leadership.
Dr. Kent M. Keith, wrote the commandments which were later used by Mother Teresa. The statements were thought provoking for me and I think you will find them meaningful as well. Keith writes:
People are illogical, unreasonable and self centered. Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest people with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest people with the smallest ideas. Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
People really need help, but may attack you if you do help them. Help them anyway.
Keith saved what I felt was the best for last. He said, “Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth. But give the world the best you have anyway.” Simple truths for challenging times. Sometimes they seem too difficult to put into practice. Perhaps…. but wouldn’t it be great – just to do it anyway?