“No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.” – John Donne
I never really read this poem in its entirety until today. Why today? I received a motivational email suggesting I write my own “acknowledgements.” You know, like when an author writes a book and thanks everyone who made it possible. It brought to mind, “No Man is an Island.”
If I am truly grateful for my lot, the challenges and the blessings, (one could say they are the same thing…), who would I acknowledge? In particular, who would I acknowledge that helped me along my leadership journey, because “No Leader is an Island.”
“I’d like to thank the Academy…”
For me, my acknowledgements for my leadership journey would include:
- A colleague who early in my career went out of his way encourage me to get into management because he thought I had a way with people.
- The women who had the courage to ask me, “Who do you think you are?” when they thought I was acting like I was better than them.
- The mentor who taught me to create my opportunities for “do-overs,” and how to rescue or strengthen a working relationship.
- The employee who taught me to be aware of how my harsh words can feel like a threat simply because of my title and perceived authority.
- The supervisor who supported me when I wanted to go against the grain and challenge standard ways HR and management treat people.
No clod left behind.
One more thing. As I acquainted myself with this poem, this line struck me, “If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less.” It took me a minute to grasp the meaning, but this too is integral to the thought, “No Leader is an Island.”
I might be missing out because I’m judging someone as too “different.” There may be someone in my community who has a lot to offer, but may be holding back for any number of reasons. And just as important, where am I holding back, because the world needs this clod too.
Indeed, no leader is an island.
Today, Leader, where are you going to make your move?
- Who do you need to acknowledge or encourage?
- Who can you reach out to, to expand your horizons?
- Where do you need to challenge yourself so the world benefits even more by your potential?
Image: Pixabay member geralt