Earlier this week, I gave a speech to fellow Toastmasters who regularly come together to learn and exercise leadership and communication skills. This particular speech was my finishing touch on a months-long project of mine — the topic being “Visionary Leadership”. And during those several months, it came closely home to me that great lessons can be learned and lent when one takes responsibility to be a leader who communicates a vision to others.
My speech stated examples of essences along these lines:
“A visionary leader ensures that the vision held is actuated (made real) beyond oneself. This is accomplished early on by outlining a strategic plan for achieving goals, then empowering those whom one leads to generate a vision and resultant actions of their own creation.”
And successful visionary leaders are, first of all, leaders of themselves by creating a Vision Statement, one which supports a Mission Statement, outlining values, purposes and goals.
Relatively easy for me, or anyone, to say. Yet obviously, it is the actual doing that counts.
Leading the doing of anything worthwhile calls for communication. And any integrous communication must have its facts straight. Continually, I find that keeping facts straight is more important now than ever before — especially when streams & screams of MIS-Information often play out — loud & large in this rapidly real-time Information Age of ours.
Acts of Doing come in a myriad of forms by people of varying ages. Case in point, five recent Presidents of the USA, present and past, are now over 70 years of age. Former President and Nobel Peace Prize-winning philanthropist Jimmy Carter is still going strong at age 96.
And, on the other end of this current generational range of lives, the youngest generations now living are notably and nobly represented. Here follow three outstanding examples of excellence:
Millennial, 31-year-old Whitney Wolf Herd is the youngest female CEO ever to take a company public. Last month, Time magazine’s headline, in its Profile article, “Queen Bee”, said of her, “Whitney Wolf Herd turned a vision of a better Internet into a billion-dollar brand.” She herself was reported as stating, “The Internet has megapower to shift behavior, if you use it for good.”
Generation Z’s currently most famous 23-year-old, Amanda Gorman, read her poem, “The Hill We Climb” at the recent Inauguration Ceremony for President Biden and Vice President Harris. Days later, former First Lady Michelle Obama was interviewing Amanda, when she voiced this:
“Amanda, You are part of a rising generation that isn’t afraid to call out racism and injustice when you see it. How do you think Art fits into these larger social movements? Do you think about these things as you write?”
“Absolutely”, Amanda answered without hesitation, “Poetry and language are often at the heartbeat of movements for change. Poetry is the lens we use to interrogate the history we stand on and the future we stand for.”
Now, a Generation Alpha, industrious 10-year-old — named Bellen Woodward, living in Leesburg, Virginia — is already on a mission for Inclusion regardless of skin color. Her “Vision Statement” includes this summary: “My different shades of Peaches and Browns can hopefully match everyone — including me, my friends, and my classmates.”
Again, as Time magazine reports: “Bellen has created her own line of crayons in tones that reflect the wide spectrum of skin colors she sees in the world — claiming the title, “World’s First Crayon Activist!”
“The world belongs to those who shape it. And however uncertain that world may feel at a given moment, the reassuring reality seems to be that each new generation produces more of what these kids have already achieved — Positive Impact in All Sizes.”
Well now, that ends our quoting and interviewing for now. And, for a couple more minutes, let’s engage together in a bit of wordsmithery:
We have, until now in this post, used the word “Generation”, to refer to all of the people born and living at about the same time, and regarded collectively.
OR “Generation” is also the name for the acts of creating, causing, making, or engendering something.
Now, the word “Humanity” can refer to human beings collectively, the human race as a whole. OR we can employ the word, “Humanity” as a synonym for several positively uplifting words: humaneness, kindness, benevolence, empathy, compassion, and brotherly or sisterly love.
So now then, let’s combine the words generation and humanity in a statement that reads as follows: “May the visionary generations of our humanity bestow upon one another Humaneness, Kindness, Benevolence, Empathy, and Compassion through our manifest expressions of Brotherly and Sisterly Love.”
The new, combined reference resonates with me when, at times of intensity, I have a seasoned, internal alerting mechanism that cues me to stop and take a few deep breaths. Then, in quietude, I offer up thankfulness for the Currents of Love, Truth and Life.
Those Currents imbue me with kindness and patience with myself, as well as compassionate openness to others. And, in this pristine moment, I remember the last verse of John Lennon’s visionary communication set in his legendary song, Imagine, “You may say I’m a dreamer, But I’m not the only one, I hope someday you’ll join us, And the world will live as one.”