Is Your Leadership Soul Getting Its Wings?

by  Jon Mertz  |  Leadership Development
Is Your Leadership Soul Getting Its Wings?

“Every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.” A quote that warms our heart from the classic film, It’s a Wonderful Life.

A commercial version is “When your sandwich is just the way you want it, ring the bell.”

This is a sign in a Subway store encouraging customers to let others know when they got what they wanted.

How often do we really get what we want?

Remember the Rolling Stones song that says:

“You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes well you might find, you get what you need.”

Ring a bell, an angel gets its wings. Ring a bell when you get what you want. But you can’t always get what you want.


How This Relates To Change.

We wish we could just ring a bell and help someone. We wish we could ring a bell ten times a day, because we got what we wanted when we wanted. And then reality hits. We can’t always get what we want.

So what do we do? Transformation and change are not simple. Both are what we need, yet our achievement and satisfaction will vary.

What we need to do is to do the work. Not any work, but the work we feel a spark within our soul.

Not all work will deliver that spark, but the reality is there is work we need to do no matter what. To gain change in a situation, behavior, or direction, we need to work hard to make it happen.

Do The Work

So, our first step is to do the work. The next step is to understand our purpose and then activate it. Some may be lucky and just know their purpose. Many times, I am jealous of musicians. Their talent is so evident and often seems very effortless. On their work stage, a sense of joy seems to fill their every chord and interaction.

We know a musician’s life is not easy. There is a lot of work required, many hours on the road, and much more. No different than our lives, yet they do it. Musicians are using their talents fully in the bringing joy to others and to themselves. This is purpose understood and undertaken.

Right now, some may question why understanding your purpose is not the first step. The reason is simple. Many times, when we show up in different places and do the work required, we begin to understand our purpose. Work helps define our purpose, and then purpose makes our work more meaningful.

Find Your Purpose & Use Your Talents

The second step is to find our purpose and use our talents to enliven ourselves and others.

As we think about this change and transformation, we realize it isn’t just about us. There is a community that gains in what we do. More than this, our community challenges us to do more and be more.

To me, this is what the Lead Change community has been. A community that rings the bell for someone, encouraging their leadership soul to get its wings. A community that rings the bell when others get it right or a challenge to think differently about a problem or a call to stand up and do more.

Engage With A Leadership Community

The third step is to jump into a leadership community and engage with others to make each other better. More than this, engage a community to prevent becoming stale in your leadership ways. The status quo can be dangerous and slippery. Leading change requires ideation, practice, and gratitude.

Ring the Bell of Change!

Next time you hear a bell ring know that:

  • A leader just found their leadership soul.
  • A leader just adopted a positive change and a community rejoiced.

Be this leader of change and growth. Ring a bell for getting satisfaction in developing your leadership soul, because this is what our communities need.

Editor’s Note: The Lead Change Group will be hosting a conference call on Wednesday, August 13, at 1 pm EDT. The call is open to current Lead Change Community members as well as people who just want to know what it is all about.

How can you best develop your leadership soul?
Photo Credit: Big Green Pen

About The Author

Articles By jon-mertz
Jon Mertz is one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business and author of Activate Leadership: Aspen Truths to Empower Millennial Leaders. At Thin Difference, Jon writes and facilitates a conversation on how to empower, challenge, and guide the next generation of leaders.  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

Mick Ukleja  |  12 Aug 2015  |  Reply

Jon. I like your approach. Finding your purpose starts by living a life of purpose. As we serve our families, networks, and communities, our purpose will begin to surface. It’s like passion. Some people look for their passion as though it’s a gold nugget buried in some river bank. The better idea? Get passionate! Whatever is in front of you this day, please be passionate about your involvement with it. The result? Your passion becomes more clear. And so does your purpose.

Jon Mertz  |  13 Aug 2015  |  Reply


Agree! Living and leading with clarity of purpose can make all the difference. Although challenging when clutter arrives, we need to remember to do the work, remove the clutter, and keep moving forward.



John Smith  |  13 Aug 2015  |  Reply

Hi, Jon – excellent post on a very important topic.

I liked everything you had to say, but the thing that really struck me as key was your first point: “Do the work”, because you slip that thing in about finding your purpose.

Too often, we seem to be heavily engaged in doing the work without pondering why we are doing it or if the work we are so wrapped up in is what we ought to be placing our energy toward. I remember early in my career trying hard to be a “good trooper”, so I would accept all assignments without much in the way of questions, put my head down, and charge forward.

Good reminder that it’s not just about doing, but about being, dare I say, mindful about what we are doing:)


Jon Mertz  |  13 Aug 2015  |  Reply

Such a key point, John. We cannot afford to do the work mindlessly. However, at times, we may dread doing something that is coming up. When we start doing the work, we realize something we enjoy. Mindfulness and self-awareness play a big role in tapping into where we find joy and purpose. We need to position ourselves to experience these new opportunities and possibly catch a soul spark.

Thanks for jumping into the conversation. Your perspective is key! Jon

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