031: Frances Hesselbein, Conversation 1: Where you can make the greatest difference


Having worked with many people and generations, Frances sees great hope in millennials. She points to research that they are like the so-called Greatest Generation, who fought World War II and then helped rebuild the world. Moreover, we see them as having done it because "it was the right thing to do," not fame or fortune. The environment could use such perspective and results. I hope she's right. I recommend listening to how she has made her life about taking on challenges, which bring her emotional reward. She takes them on deliberately. I believe she expects that work serving others will create emotional reward and meaning. I didn't hear her talk about pursuing comfort and convenience. I think she knows that taking easy, traditional routes don't create long-term reward. The result? I doubt you'll find a happier person, nor a more respectable and accomplished circle of friends and colleagues. I share her main environmental leadership message: that working for others improves your life. Serving others makes you feel good. This perspective contrasts with the predominant feelings I see of "I want to act but if others don't it won't matter" and guilt. She describes creating meaning through serving others, not hoping for it. I'm particularly taken by her characterization of how the men in her life served: "It was just what we did." I don't hear that voice today on the environment, but I'm working to create it. Something you don't hear in the recording that I happened to see in her notes after we finished. She wrote a fourth 'R' here: Reduce, reuse, recycle, responsibility She didn't refer to environmental challenges. She called them opportunities.

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