Give the World the Best You Have… Anyway! (Paradoxical Leadership Development)
I’m attending my first ever National Speaker Association Conference in Orlando, Florida. As I’m taking the shuttle from the airport to the convention center, I strike up a conversation with a fellow attendee, Kent. Since he looks like an experienced speaker and author, I ask him about his core message, his forte. When he says, “Paradoxical Commandments” I’m intrigued.
As he recites the commandments to me, I immediately think, ‘Wow! This applies to us as leaders in the world of sales too.”
I asked for permission to publish the Paradoxical Commandments and I created a plaque to give to my clients. I still have it on a shelf in my office.
Dr. Kent Keith wrote “The Paradoxical Commandments” in 1968 when he was just 19 years old! Since then, they have been circling the globe for more than 50 years, pinned on walls and refrigerator doors, featured in speeches and articles, preached from pulpits, and shared extensively on the web. The grace my office. I trust they will find a place in your life also.
The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down
by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.
© Copyright Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001
Watch a short video on my surprising meeting with Dr. Kent Keith HERE.
Here’s what Dr. Keith has to say about love…“You’ve gotta love people. You’ve gotta care. Love is the only motivation that’s strong enough to keep you with the people and with the process until the change occurs, because change takes time. If you don’t love people and you’re in a leadership position, you should resign because you’re going to do more harm than good.”
So, when other generations, whether Millennial, Gen Z or Gen X, drive you nuts, it’s an opportunity to “love them anyway.”
And, it’s an opportunity to revisit the Invitation/Challenge Framework. Here are links to my two recent articles on this framework:
Leadership Lesson: As leaders, we are called to do what’s right, even when it feels like we are the only ones walking that pathway.
Leadership Question: Who’s the emerging leader in your sphere of influence whom you might accept the challenge to “love them anyway”?