Who we are, in the most basic sense, is a collection of our
life experiences. That’s what shapes us. That’s what drives the
decisions we make, from the goals we set for our company
and our teams to the strategies we disseminate, to the way we
treat people we encounter along the way. Our experiences, if
we are intentional, create the traits that define who we are.
Fill your life with experiences
I’m a huge (or I should say obsessed) sports fan. I’ve been to
just about every major sporting event you can name—the
Super Bowl, the World Series, the NCAA Final Four, College
Football Championship Game, the Stanley Cup Finals, the
Masters golf tournament—and guess what? None of those
amazing sporting events ever changed my heart. They were
all fun and they often made my heart pump faster, but they
I want to fill my life with experiences that change me—
experiences that make me a better leader, a better husband,
a better father, a better friend, a better person.
When I experienced Japan, I learned about the impact of
war on ordinary people.
When I experienced Ethiopia, I learned about poverty.
When I experienced Auschwitz, I learned about the existence of evil.
When I experienced adoption, I learned about love.
When I experienced prison, I learned about forgiveness.
My life has been an amazing journey, literally and figuratively. When I was growing up in Suffern, New York, there
were times when it seemed impossible to think I’d ever leave
that small village. My parents taught me to work hard and
serve others, but I struggled so much academically that my
high school guidance counselor recommended I go to trade
school. Instead, opportunities continued to knock at my door.
I learned to deal with what I later discovered was dyslexia.
I continued to work hard. I continued to serve others. I developed strong, genuine relationships. And I built a career and
life that has taken me to all fifty states and more than sixty
countries. I’ve worked in big business, education, politics,
nonprofits, and, in my current role, as a speaker, executive
coach and an entrepreneur.
In all my travels, in all my experiences, and in all that
I’ve learned from the hundreds of leaders I’ve met, coached,
managed, or befriended, I’ve discovered one theme that
consistently defines success: heart-led leadership.
The leaders and organizations that led with their hearts are
more successful and have better results than those that don’t.
I’ve learned that love and results are on the same side of a
two-sided coin. It is not love or results. It is love-driven results.
Love in this context is simply an unselfish and loyal concern
for the good of others.
If you love what you do, if you love the people you do it
with, if you love your culture, if you love your mission, if you
love your teams, if you love your investors, if you love your
clients, if you love your clients and customers, then you will
gain better results. Period.
When this type of love—this heart-led leadership—is
modeled at all levels of an organization, then the positive
results multiply into a remarkable and sustainable force.
If that’s who you are, then imagine the impact you can
have on your family, your organization, your community
and your world.
And it all begins with leading from the heart and taking
the 18-inch journey. n
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
TOMMY SPAULDING is a New York Times bestselling author
and world renowned inspirational leader on leadership. His
new book, The Heart-Led Leader, will be released nationally
this month. Website:
If who you are is servant-leader, or what I call a heart-led
leader, then you, your teams, and your organization can move
beyond ordinary success to success that really matters.
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