Imagine that tonight you will be honored as Leader of the Year. Hundreds of people will gather to pay tribute to your contributions to your family, your colleagues, your organization, or your community. Several people will make speeches describing your performance and your character.
What words or phrases would you most like to hear others say about you? How would you like to be remembered tonight? What descriptions would make you feel the proudest? If you could write these tributes to yourself, what would they say?
These descriptive adjectives and phrases may well be lofty and ideal. That’s OK. The greater the clarity of, belief in, and passion for our personal standards of excellence, the greater the probability we’ll act in concert with them.
If you have trouble writing your tribute, you might start by reflecting on your answers to some of these questions:
What do you stand for? Why?
What do you believe in? Why?
What are you discontented about? Why?
What are you passionate about? Why?
What keeps you awake at night? Why?
What’s grabbed hold of you and won’t let go? Why?
What do you want for your life? Why?
Just what is it you really care about? Why?
Write your brief tribute to yourself.
Show this tribute to 5 people you trust to give you honest feedback - a friend, colleague, or family member. Based on their feedback to you, revise your tribute.
Now, is there something missing from your tribute that you would like for others to be able to say about you? If so, what can you do to make it happen?
Adapted from Kouzes & Posner (2007). The Leadership Challenge
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