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Reflection upon Self Leadership

Today, on my birthday, I decided to offer myself and others this little writing as a present! 


There is a little story that I heard first from a dear mentor supporting me in my first leadership missions and then I have seen it in a lot of writings and courses. Because I cannot track its exact origins, here’s my version:


It is said that in a village in Asia there was this wise old man. And he had a mare. All the village was coming to praise his luck:

  • Ohhh, how lucky you are to have this horse. You can work the fields and earn your life easily.

He was responding:

  • Good Luck, Bad Luck, You never know!

Then, one day that horse ran away from the farm. The whole village gathered to pity him:

  • Ohhh what bad luck that the mare left! How will you work your fields anymore? 

He was responding:

  • Bad Luck, Good Luck, We never know! 

Then, after a while the mare returned to the farm, together with a bunch of stallions. The village gathered to praise him:

  • Ohhh, How lucky are you to have all these horses. Now you can do a lot more with them…

He was then responding:

  • Good Luck, Bad Luck, one never knows!

While these horses were playing, one kicked and broke his boy’s leg. Then the village came again to pity the old man. Ohhh, poor guy, after all you were unlucky! Your son got injured. 

He was again, responding:

  • Bad Luck, Good Luck, we never really know!

Then, two weeks after the injury, the Emperor’s army was passing through the village to recruit young men for  war. His son was not recruited due to the injury. 


I love this story because it actually says so much. And if I have to prioritize amongst all my personal learnings and those of my coaching clients, friends, partners, mentors, etc on the occasion of my anniversary, it would be this invitation to awareness and mindfulness. 


Life getting better/worse/easier/harder/meaningful/meaningless is a function of awareness. Time can be perceived as expanded and experience is actually enhanced by being aware. We are the ones giving meaning to anything that happens. And looking at the objectives that people are trying to achieve in our coaching conversations, it often boils down to feeling in a certain way. 


Right now, I am pursuing a Work From Everywhere Experiment, in the attempt to write a book partially on this topic, while working from around the world and getting different insights and perspectives (but more on this in a dedicated article). 


As I am now in Thailand and challenging the status quo of remote working, I get a lot of: “when I grow up I wanna be like you” – in jokingly manner because those saying that are more grownups than myself on so many levels, “you are an inspiration”, “I will do this when…”, “I wish I could do that, but…”, “it is easier for you ….”, “not possible in my case”, “easy for you to say…”, “you are guilty for not suffering alongside us” … and much more on these lines. I will also address them separately. 


For the scope of this specific article I will directly address this -> “I will do this when…” 

And respond with: “All you’ve got is the present moment”. And I am too pragmatic to take this too literally. This saying is far from being about not learning from the past or following dreams or making plans for the future. 


What I am taking from this phrase is that the past and the future happen in the present moment and they are mere projections. And it is worth doing them as long as you are not sacrificing too much. As long as you are not stopping fluid living in order to achieve a “so called” desired state in the future when some kind of a target will be attained. The truth is that you can have both, if you mind the experience along the way. If you can make this meaningful and enjoyable, this is the real treat.


And sure you can! Because you are actually making sense of stuff. And you are attributing their meaning. You can read more about attributing meaning in this article: https://mihaizant.com/being-a-coach-is-not-more-meaningful/ 

Mihai ZANT

Mihai ZANT

Mihai ZANT is an Executive Coach, Trainer and Managing Partner at CoachingAfterSchool.com, Humanistic.ro and CareerShift.ro. Having over 10 years of experience in leading teams and communities he concentrated his work in building Learning Organisations.

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