I recently attended a birthday celebration and rite of passage for an exceptional 79 year old, a beloved leader of his community for many years. Although in good health, he voluntarily decided it was time to “move on” and leave space for younger leaders to move up. He chose to transition from active leadership to elder, and hence the rite of passage ceremony. A wonderful party was held in his honor, with many accolades and much affection and respect. Clearly, he earned the love fest, and he is ready for his new role – available for counsel, but no longer centrally involved.
Food for Thought ~
Even if we are not yet personally ready for such a dramatic transition, it’s illuminating to reflect on the antecedents of this celebration. This individual has been a strong leader on both the visionary dimension and the “do the work” dimension. He is gifted and charismatic, yet one of the key testimonials was that he “always shows up.” So in addition to his talent and personality, he was always there to do his part. I would add the observation that this celebration was not a PR event, but a genuine, happy result of a lifetime of meaningful and inspiring leadership, offered with grace, humor and a loving spirit that endeared him to his community.
Question of the day ~
In what way does this story inspire you regarding your leadership in your company/organization/community? And while we’re at it, what is the greatest contribution you can make?
I would love to know your answers to these questions – please write or call! Attending this birthday and leadership celebration turned out to be synchronistic with my new article for the North Bay Business Journal. It’s about leaving a legacy as a leader, and I’ll let you know when it’s published.