Peace - A Leadership Strategy, Not Pixie Dust

Last week when I sat down to review my calendar, I noticed that Monday, September 21, is the International Day of Peace.

Peace, a little word that stirs so much inside of me.

Images of the green pastures I saw in Ireland this summer and how restful they were to my sand-covered, expat soul.

And the thankfulness that filled my heart until tears ran down my cheeks.

Thoughts of a class I took several years ago...

Truth shines light, banishes fear, builds hope and ignites peace.

Endless examples of workplaces...

"When there is trust, conflict becomes nothing but the pursuit of truth, an attempt to find the best possible answer."
~ Patrick Lencioni

Connection, admiration and empathy as I think of people I know that have lived in, escaped from or have families that are living in war torn countries.

Memories of my Grandfather, a WWII Battle of the Bulge Veteran...

  • Who fought for the peace of others, but struggled to find peace himself.
  • Until he had an opportunity, 60-years later, to learn how much peace means to the people he fought for.

Scenes from the movie We Were Soldiers...

Lessons from two of the most divisive people I’ve ever met...

Yes - evil people really think like this.

"The receptivity of the masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan." ~ Adolf Hitler

But we don’t have to fall for it!

"Peace will never begin out there. It will always begin within us."

Check out these examples of people who are sowing seeds of peace outside of what the world thinks is possible:

Below are several ideas from others about things that you can do to limit division and create more peace:

Jaynia Samaroo - Jamaica

Treat people as you would want to be treated. Look beyond the usual divides of race, religion and politics and see people as persons... with same wants, fears, hopes and dreams.

I think to maintain or have peace is a decision that we have to make, as strife is easily stirred by various situations so we have to choose to find a peaceful resolution and actually want it. If not for ourselves we should want to foster peaceful relations so our kids can have better lives and quality of life.

It's really horrendous when people choose hate even when they don't have any idea why...except history dictates this. I don't generally hate people. I find that too strong a word anyway. I try to hate what they do, not them. There is something to love or even like or even admire in each person.

I think some people, however, just have a spirit of hate and even the nicest of persons they will find something negative about and feel the need to create division. Those people need prayers!

At the country level at the home Level, in the workplace...leadership can help facilitate more interactions which can see people gaining relationships with others and as such help, I'm making them see beyond the veil.  In Jamaica they try to have sporting activities played by mixed teams from rival communities. This builds comradeship among unusual groups.

Carol Dougherty‪ - USA

For me it's about being authentic and allowing others to be their authentic self. As Stephen Covey said, "Seek first to understand, then be understood." I work to stay open to where others are coming from - their experiences are different than mine so I can learn from them. I also work (hard at times) to be kind and to respect others.

‪John Harrison Thurlbeck‪ - UK

To be the authentic me, in whatever environment I find myself. By this I mean I am polite, courteous and respectful to all, especially by saying please and thank you. I offer passion, energy and enthusiasm. I smile a lot and regularly use humor. Often to defuse and mediate situations. I also provide and seek feedback wherever I can and always seek to help people in doing so.

I praise and celebrate whatever I can and am thankful for the many privileges that life has bestowed upon me. Most of all, whilst being a great talker too, as human interaction is the key to greater understanding and self-awareness, I listen attentively to what people say and then I try to act on all the things that I hear wherever I can.

Kate Nasser - USA

To me, peace comes through a couple of universal steps:

  • Questioning, learning, understanding.
  • Belief in something other than our own individual needs.

It’s a part of emotional intelligence and yet we see even in religions that very rigid beliefs breed selfish inflexibility. That breeds conflict. When we keep our minds open, learn, discuss, and work through issues to a reasonable win/win — peace is at hand.

Ruchi Gai - India

Buddha said the final battle could be achieved by love and humanity among us. Gandhi said an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. This is what happening all over the world now.

It's on the verge of destruction; Buddha preached peace and even the Mighty King Ashoka in ancient India after fighting many wars joined Buddha as he realized there is no end to war.

Violence only breaks the country and its people into bits.

Patsy Claremont - USA

Forgiveness and choosing to live with an accepting attitude rather than criticism or looking for what to say to put someone down.

Alicia Cheng - China

We need to know that people are all very different from us, this way, we can be more tolerant and accepting. We find comfort and encouragement from the verses in 1 Peter, 1:6-7.

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."
~ Helen Keller

Please share your thoughts. What can seemingly ordinary people do to create more peace?

I’m honored to co-host a #PeopleSkills Tweet Chat this Sunday, September 20th, at 10 AM EST, one day prior to the International Day of Peace.

You’re invited to bring your thoughts to this chat and join people from across the world as we discuss Peace Making versus Peace Breaking.

For more information about that chat and how you can join us. Click Here.

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