Transformations: The One Within


“Only when the clamor of the world outside is silenced will you be able to hear the deeper vibration. Listen carefully.” – Sarah Ban Breathnach
I have truly appreciated the Servant Hearts posts. These meditations have moved me closer toward the servant I want to be. I imagine the thing that fascinates me is how continual this process is. A servant is always refining, gathering and filtering him/herself to the goal of personal and objective change. A servant leader is always aware of how his or her actions or inactions affect others around them. This has been one of the threads that continually runs through all earlier and, hopefully, future Servant Heartsposts.

This is where we can give pause for a moment …

As you look at the people you lead at work or at home, ask yourself, “What qualities do you see in these people that are most or least like you?” This is a question I believe may have been asked in an earlier post, but it is a very important one, maybe the most important one. This is a fundamental part of a servant’s heart. We must acquire the ability to go deep into our heart and question motive.

If we look at and come to terms with “why” and “what” motivates us to serve, it becomes easier to move toward a purer and more selfless reason: to empower others. And it is here where we may have the most difficulty.

Can we look at ourselves in this way? Honestly, objectively, and possibly even critically? The Introspective Servant is ever aware, ever looking to effectively see him/herself through the eyes of objectivity.

We are well aware our thoughts and feelings lead to words and actions. The Introspective Servant strives to cultivate positive qualities of mind and heart. Qualities like mildness, patience, and self-control are powerful tools when leading people toward a common goal. When we cultivate these qualities, it promotes good relationships with other team members and, at the same time, inspires others not to be “like” us but, instead, develop the qualities that will inherently benefit themselves. This is “quiet” leadership because it strives to motivate positively through example. It moves powerfully, without aggression, cooperatively without egotism and assertive without hesitation.

“One of the greatest moments in anybody’s developing experience is when he no longer tries to hide from himself but determines to get acquainted with himself as he truly is”

– Norman Vincent Peale

When we serve, we are leading ourselves ultimately to that purest and possibly idyllic quality … Humility. Modesty and humility are closely related, but they are not the same. The opposite of humility is pride; the opposite of modesty is presuming too much, vanity, and conceit. Humility comes from the roothumus, meaning earth, and has the thought of lowliness. Modesty comes from the root modestus, meaning moderate. Modesty may be said to be an aspect of humility, which is the more basic quality. A humble person who has good sense, who is wise, who uses a sound mind, will also be modest.

Since modesty means being aware of one’s limitations, it is a quality of persons who are finite. All creatures have their limitations and, therefore, modesty is becoming to them. Modesty aids in avoiding giving offense and in making friends. Few things so grate on others as a lack of modesty, and few things so make for goodwill as modesty. One who presumes too much is prone to encroach on the rights of others and so arouse fear and antagonism. One who is not aware of his own limitations is bound to annoy others. If we are modest we will not talk too much; we will not monopolize conversations. Also, we will not sound harsh, gruff, or needlessly loud, but the very tone of our voice will be modest, unassuming.

A humble person will not resent suggestions or criticism, but a modest person is more likely to ask, wherein can I improve? Have you anything to offer?

When we are modest and humble, we ARE leading by example. When we take the time to examine our actions in our relationships with others and reconcile them with our motives, we ARE demonstrating the “quiet” power of leadership. This leadership of self-reflection is not inaction; it’s an investment in understanding where you’ve been to take yourself where you need to be.

As Rainer Maria Rilke says, “The only journey is the one within.”

This was an original Post I did for NorthFork Center for Servant Leadership Many thanks to Dr Jack King for the opportunity to write for them.

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About TheStyleGent

I blog about character, competency and clothing. Giving back, living well and looking sharp is how you live life with style. What good is a new suit if the man inside is rotten?

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