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Who is your greatest teacher?


I just finished watching a key note from Oprah Winfrey...for the umpteenth time now. She spoke about saying "no" for the first time in her Oprah Winfrey Show career to Stevie Wonder. She quoted the inspirational legend Dr. Maya Angelou multiple times. She proudly described her girls school in Africa like any proud parent would brag upon. She recalled the lesson of active intuitive listening for if you don't hear the whisper, the whole brick wall may come falling down. She detailed how intentional decision manifests unquestionable results. As I continued to listen, I heard a silent underlying theme: teach yourself and others.

Oprah has gone on record multiple times exclaiming that if the broadcast journalism thing didn't work, she would choose the path of teaching. Funny she'd say that because she taught for nearly a 30-year run on television to the world. It may not be standard teaching but there was a universal feeling her audience felt of being taught something--whether within themselves or for someone else.

My mother was an elementary teacher for her 30 year professional career and it brought her such joy to see the lightbulbs illuminate in her young students' eyes. She and Oprah shared this in common: an ability to see each individual, whether student or audience member, genuinely as themselves. And in this honest perspective, my mother often saw potential. For this potential also guided my mother to always being intentional in how, what, and why she inspired her students -- and her own children. So I ask how do you see individuals in your orbit: whether they be a customer, team member, or stakeholder? Are you seeing the potential in others? Are you always clear about the intention behind a response, question, or decision?

Oprah offered some questions you should ask yourself about intentional decision making that can reap some great business results:

1) Why are you here? What is the reason you are here?

2) What is your right next move to come out of this place of unclarity?

3) What role do you play in making the right moves?

In conclusion of this year's Teacher Appreciation Week, you should ask yourself how do you teach yourself through intentional decision making and teach others through through a perspective of potential. However, leadership isn't only about genuine decision making, Oprah details another must-have to truly be a service leader: compassion. The combination of all these teachable characteristics can help you to build a business foundation that begets a limitless legacy. And a legacy can be easily established by the approach of your leadership and intentional decision making. Maya Angelou had a exemplary approach to leaving a legacy and my recently passed mother/teacher was a master at this: "Your legacy is every life you've touched." Furthermore, it's been said that where you leave a heartprint, you leave a legacy.

So I ask you, with whom will you make intentional decisions that leave a legacy of heartprints?


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