Our beliefs form the very core of who we are. They are the essence of our true selves. Living and leading our life in harmony with our most deeply held beliefs is a major step toward leading a life of significance – a life that is not about us but about serving others and making a difference in the world.
John Fairfax, my great-great-grandfather, is a perfect example of a man who did not let his crucible experience define him. Rather, his crucible experience was the springboard to bring his vision to life. It created an inflection point that changed the path of his life and the course of my family’s future.
I have found that when you use a crucible moment to help others, it can be very healing. When we take the focus off ourselves and try to use what we have been through to help others, it can make a huge difference in our spirit and our lives. Living such a life — using the pain of a crucible experience to help others — is what leading a life of significance is all about. But how do we get to a place where our experiences empower us rather than define us?
I was walking on Siesta Key Beach in Sarasota, Florida, a few weeks ago — the day before we were to return to Maryland. Siesta Key Beach is rated as one of the top beaches in the US, but today it was shrouded in fog. You could barely see 100 yards in front of you, out to the Gulf or inland to the condos lining the beach. The fog was so dense that you could feel the moisture on your skin.
Abraham Lincoln is commonly regarded by most historians as the greatest American President. The great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy said that Lincoln’s supremacy compared to other great leaders in history was due to “his peculiar moral power and … the greatness of his character.”
We have looked at several different areas of leadership. Some have been internal, such as character, and some have been external, such as vision. We have talked of the ‘being’ of a leader. Character, internal beliefs, and crucible experiences often lead to vision. But how do we make vision become reality?
You may not have a clear picture of what you want your vision to be or where you want to take your life, but you often have an idea, a thought. It calls out to you, compels you, and fills you with a passion unlike any you’ve felt before. I like to compare it to an impressionist painting more so than a photo.