What's That Sparkle In Your Eyes Telling Me?

Inspiration comes from many sources. But you’d never guess it from the negativity we hear about everywhere.  I was just listening tovideos of Benjaminn Zander on YouTube.  You can learn more about him at http://www.benjaminzander.com  At a business meeting last Saturday a twenty minute video was played from his Art of Possibility series.  I found it truly transformative.  He describes the "aha" moment he had years ago when he realized as a musical conductor he makes no sound.  A conductor has power and is ultimately accountable for the music the orchestra plays, but makes no sound.  After his aha moment he began to look into the eyes of his musicians for an answer.  Simply, if their eyes were shining brightly the music they played was bright.  Getting many musicians all to play different scores brightly to create magnificent music people feel and experience is the goal.  The contrast to managerial leadership is obvious isn’t it? Here are some other gems from him.

“A leader must not doubt for one iota that which s/he is asking of employees is possible".

If your employees, teams, children, lover’s eyes are not shining we must ask ourselves “Who am I being now?”

The story he told to get this point across is a poignant one.  It's worth paraphrasing here to capture the message. A Holocaust survivor after having been separated from her parents found herself on the train to one of the camps with her younger brother.  She looked down at him and noticed he’d lost his shoes.  She scolded him for not keeping his things in sight.  The train arrived and they were separated.  She never saw him again.  She survived and upon leaving the camp made a vow. “I’ll never say something that won’t stand as the last thing I ever say to someone again".  She’d been haunted by the last words she said to her brother.

Lastly he emphasizes the important distinction between “positive thinking” and his phrase of “radiant possibility”.  I for one have had difficulty with positive thinking in that, it has often felt empty, inauthentic.  I was raised to tell the truth and have difficulty even with “little white lies”.  Radiant possibility acknowledges what is so and creates an optimistic perspective on it.  His illustration of this distinction comes from his childhood.   His father would say, “there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing”.

I suggest visiting  his website and listening to some of the You Tube videos.  There is much to learn from this very special man and beautiful music to listen too as well.