Leadership & Love Are Your Highest Calling
I went to India to study one of the greatest forces in world history: religion. What I got was a profound, life-altering appreciation for the three most powerful invisible forces that drive all human motivation and behavior:
Fear drives people to make decisions for the sake of simply surviving. Self-determination drives people to satisfy their ego’s desire, personal significance, fortune and fame. Love drives people to make decisions about “we” and act from a place of wisdom, meaning and purpose for the greater good.
Stephen Prothero, a leading authority on the world’s religions, made a compelling case for understanding the differences among the great religions of the world. Religions are, among other things, great philosophies, and an understanding of philosophical traditions empowers us both socially and intellectually as leaders of teams.
While I myself grew up in the Catholic tradition, understanding the unique beauty and distinctions of other traditions offers practical insight into our common humanity.
Religion is not the same as spirituality. Whether it’s the Five Pillars, the Seven Sacraments, the Ten Commandments, the Four Noble Truths, or some of the other great traditions of the world, having a richer understanding for other perspectives allows us to have a greater grasp on the whole truth — that the greatest force in the universe which binds all of humanity, the force that the greatest spiritual leaders throughout the ages have all fundamentally professed is love.
Belief systems are immensely powerful
What’s even more powerful is that we can choose the beliefs that empower us most. Many great leaders and entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Marc Benioff have been students of the profound impact of spiritual leaders and leadership. Aside from our personal beliefs, understanding what drives the motivation and behaviors of others is a critical component of leadership. All communication is either a loving response or a cry for help. And as a leader, operating from a place of awareness and affect for your team members and the people with whom you connect allows everyone to operate at their best and create the greatest good in the universe.
Entrepreneurship is the highest calling of the self determined
It’s great to have talent. Only by applying hard work to talent for years can you have something greater: skill. Becoming highly skilled and developing mastery of a functional discipline — this is the path of self-determination. Entrepreneurship is the highest calling of self-determined people who have developed insight, functional mastery and a vision for how things could work better.
Leadership is the highest calling in business
The greatest growth a startup will make is when a visionary entrepreneur grows into a leader of leaders or hires a leader to help drive progress. And most startups will never get to scale or have the kind of growth to see an exit without a true leader.
Love is the highest calling of humanity
Business can serve a high purpose in a human life. It has the power to redeem, transform and shape the fate of a person, a team, a community, and the world. And the best leaders inspire their people with wisdom, meaning and purpose. The greatest spiritual leaders in human history, the ones with the greatest influence, all professed the one powerful force that brings humanity closer: love. Caring about your people is the best way to get people to care about your business, performance, and results and to create the greatest good.
Leaders Have The Most Influence When They Serve a Higher Purpose
True leadership is about bringing people together for the advancement of human progress. The belief systems that we choose for ourselves have the power to move us from self-interest towards the advancement of humanity. Learning from compassionate leaders and developing our deep beliefs can inspire us to keep humanity in mind in our business lives and rise up to our greatest calling. It allows us to move from a group of self-determined people in an entrepreneurial environment to something much higher. Just as it did for Jobs and Benioff, learning from the great spiritual leaders to serve the universal good with divine meaning can awaken you to love and to the great calling of leadership.
All entrepreneurial ventures, if they are to succeed and become more than a lifestyle business require leadership. Leadership has the power to impact positive change on the lives of people, teams, communities, and the world. Leadership advances human progress by bringing wisdom, meaning and purpose to those people in a business. In business and in life, leadership and love are the highest calling to the life that is inside of you.