A thank you to the leaders in my life

Leadership lifts us, grounds us, treats us with respect, and it gives us hope and a reason to be proud.

I’ve been emotional about what’s going on in the world, in my life and the lives of friends, associates, and family. As these emotions showed up for me, I had to admit to myself the things I’ve been holding back – storing my fears in a box which I had planned to open up later, or not at all. But, for the most part, these emotions are held at bay and, like you, I am soldiering on.

Strong emotions first showed the other day when a graduate of our Path Forward Leadership Workshop sent an email thanking us for everything he learned in our program – and for how this learning has guided him in recent weeks. At a time like this, I felt immensely blessed to know that somewhere, out there, people are using what we have taught to guide them.

The emotions continued during the day as I reflected on the resilience and humanity of the people I interacted with, including my colleague Sarah, my new friend Norman, and as always, my wife, Paula. Maybe the courage, doggedness, creativity, and love I witnessed today weren’t extraordinary, but they deserve extraordinary notice and recognition.

There are times when I am deeply ashamed of being human, for our venality and our violence and our selfishness. Today was a day in which I could be proud to be human, and this is a feeling I have when listening to Mozart, or walking the paths of a well-tended garden. There is so much good in us, and when revealed, it is magical and reassuring.

My last moment of strong emotion came in the evening when I listened to a TV interview with Todd Semonite, the Chief of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Army Corps was tasked with building a long list of medical facilities on short notice, with the added burden of having to change directions daily as the virus practices its evil and capricious sorcery.

When the first few words came out of this man’s mouth, I felt cared for, and I didn’t think I needed that, but I suppose I did. He was resolute, in charge, and the absolute dictionary definition of “can-do.” I found myself choking back tears as he described with pride and hopefulness the logistics and creativity of the Army Corps’ practical solutions to its challenges. I heard a man who wasn’t going to let me down, a man who is exactly the kind of man I want in my corner. I found myself filled with gratitude that this human being exists, right now, right here in this country, to help all of us.

At Path Forward, our mission in leadership development is to reduce human suffering. This is what leadership does – it lifts us, it grounds us, it treats us with respect, and it gives us hope and a reason to be proud. Thanks to everyone I touched today – you were all leaders who helped ease my journey. Please let me know if I can help do the same for you.

About the Author

Sarah Thomson

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