As a leader, people often want to know who mentors you, or where do you draw inspiration and insight from in times of great challenge? I’ve had to ask myself the same thing on more than one occasion. Each time the answer comes, it’s the wisdom of people who have lived before that inspires and informs me.
While I have both living and passed mentors who have sown wisdom and understanding into my life, I also find great insight through the shared knowledge of men and women I have never met outside of their writing.
Here are few I’d like to share in during this time:
Madam Maya Angelo
I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
(Charles) Edwin Markham
For all your days be prepared, and meet them ever alike. When you are the anvil, bear - when you are the hammer, strike.
“There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance next time.”
Ella Wheeler Wilcox November 05, 1850 to October 30, 1919
“One ship drives east and another drives west With the selfsame winds that blow. Tis the set of the sails And not the gales Which tells us the way to go. Like the winds of the seas are the ways of fate, As we voyage along through the life: Tis the set of a soul That decides its goal, And not the calm or the strife. ”
Rudyard Kipling’s Poem, “If” the First Stanza
If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
Abraham Heschel wrote these words,
“The world is no derelict; life is not a neutral ground. In this life of ours the undirected goes astray, the haphazard becomes chaotic, what is left to chance is abandoned.”
I have more than these few, but there is one that is special to me because I say it all of the time. I heard the first part spoken by the late Ruth Storms, a lady of great wisdom and grace. I added the second half, and I have been since quoted and credited with the entire statement which is not true.
It is my eleventh commandment. In times when challenges are present on every front, and the future seems uncertain, I cling to this saying.
Blessed are the Flexible, for they shall never be bent out of shape!
 Man’s Quest For God: Studies in Prayer and Symbolism pg 94