11520 Slices
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One Whom Will We Serve?

Bachelder, Cheryl A Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first.

ROBERT K. GREENLEAF,
THE SERVANT AS LEADER

I AM AN ETERNAL OPTIMIST, a certified member of the positive-thinking club.

When we were growing up, my mother woke my siblings and me by playing loud music on the stereo and saying, “Good morning! It’s a beautiful day. Rise and shine.” There was no opportunity for negativity. It was going to be a good day.

I continued this tradition with my children. The mantra of their childhood was “Your attitude is your altitude.” They still grimace when I say it, but the message is etched in their minds. Decide how you will approach this day—and that will determine your day.

The same is true in leadership: your attitude is your altitude.

When I joined Popeyes, the place needed an attitude adjustment. The problem? The people we were responsible for leading were viewed as “a pain in the neck.”

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Two What Is the Daring Destination?

Bachelder, Cheryl A Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The bravest are the tenderest,—the loving are the daring.

BAYARD JOSEPH TAYLOR (1825–1878)

AROUND THE DINNER TABLE, our family likes to discuss words. This habit comes from my husband of more than thirty years. He cares deeply about the proper use of words. Recently, in one of these evening discussions, we contemplated the meaning of the terms paradox and oxymoron.

A paradox is something that is made up of two opposite things and that seems impossible but is actually true or possible. The word originates from the Greek word paradoxos, meaning “contrary to expectation.”

An oxymoron is considered a “compressed paradox.” In terms I can understand, that means two words used together that are seemingly contradictory, such as “silent alarm.” The origin of oxymoron is also Greek—a combination of two Greek words, oxys, meaning “sharp” or “keen,” and moros, meaning “foolish.” Sharp and foolish? It turns out that even the word oxymoron is an oxymoron.

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Three Why Do We Do This Work?

Bachelder, Cheryl A Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Most of us . . . have jobs that are too small for our spirits.

STUDS TERKEL, WORKING

WHY DOES WORK have such a bad reputation? Or is it just my line of work that has a bad reputation?

When you work in the restaurant business, you take a lot of flak for your job—particularly if you work in “fast food.” Popular culture is full of unflattering references, such as “burger flipper” and “minimum-wage worker.” Despite the fact that one in ten Americans currently works in a restaurant, one-third of Americans find their first job in a restaurant, and 50 percent of Americans work in a restaurant at some point in their working lives, restaurant work is regarded with disdain.

This drives me crazy. I know amazing people who work in the restaurant business. They deserve respect and dignity for what they do for a living. They feed people. They develop leaders. They help kids get through high school. They give people first and second chances for employment. They serve people kindly. They teach and counsel team members. They create jobs. They give generously in the community. They give the best of themselves to the people and the communities they serve.

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Nine Switch from Self to Serve

Bachelder, Cheryl A Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

When we are no longer able to change a situation . . . we are challenged to change ourselves.

VICTOR E. FRANKL,
MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING

IT IS REMARKABLY DIFFICULT TO CHANGE our behavior, because the habits are so deeply engrained in us. It takes very conscious steps to rewire that embedded behavior. And we are hampered by our addiction to those feelings of approval and applause that the world entices us toward—the spotlight. It doesn’t sound so thrilling to lay down self-interest and serve others. In fact, it sounds just plain hard.

The first challenge to changing our behavior is accepting this reality: I’m not inherently good. I often do not live out what I say I believe. For example, I say I love my spouse and then I do something unloving toward him. I say I am honest and then I hide an important fact from someone so that I look better. I say I have no bias but find myself jumping to an unfair conclusion about another person. Nope, I’m not inherently good. I’m going to need grace and forgiveness in this life. The reality: I’m going to have to keep working on becoming more like those I admire, who serve others with complete disregard for the implications to themselves.

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Seven Be Bold and Brave

Bachelder, Cheryl A Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

NELSON MANDELA

A FRIEND OF MINE went bungee jumping in South Africa—jumping off the Bloukrans Bridge, plunging over a spectacular gorge. Rising 709 feet over the Bloukrans River, the bridge is the world’s highest commercial bungee jump location (though it is only the thirty-sixth highest bridge in the world). The local operator of this extreme sport has appropriately named his company Face Adrenalin.

When my friend got home from the trip, she showed me the videotape of her jump. During the several minutes of preparation for the jump, while the guides secured her in the harness, my friend screamed and cried as though she were going to die any minute.

I completely relate to that emotion. I probably would have died of fear on the platform. Being much braver than I, my friend made the jump and found herself swinging upside down over Bloukrans River until the crew pulled her back up to the top. She told me how amazing the experience was, how it felt to fly through the air with the blood rushing into her head.

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