February 10, 2019

If you could see what a child sees

I looked down at the cool, beautiful, silent marble squares of floor.
They had always been so. Cool and beautiful.

But they had lost the life that I tried to recall.
The carefully carved squares hadn’t seemed so sadly silent before.

I stared at my shoes; well my blue and white trainers.

“Trainers? And they’re not supposed to be that large.” I whispered.
“They should be small feet. Small feet in soft blue slippers.”

But that was decades ago. And I was just nine years old.
Years ago, when I had stood in this glorious, echoing church.
A church far too magnificent for a large cluster of nuns and the freshly scrubbed rabble of St Raphael’s Children’s Home.

A church full of hushed whispering, of giggles, of singing that soared and dived.
A church where the children stood, bathed in the dancing colours streaming through lofty stained glass.

And I was one of those children.

Now, impossible years later, here I was, standing in a July day, on the same marble which had been made hallowed by my childhood footsteps.

This was where I first learned to ask deep, sweeping, awed questions.
About Life. And it’s meaning and purpose.

Today, many of those I meet in business struggle to even ask those same questions.
Let alone respond with lucid answers.

It’s as if they’re scared.
Terrified that, if they don’t have answers, then they’ll be faced with the question:

“So, what exactly AM I doing here? And why?”

And so we find people looking for meaning in their work.
Meaning in front of their screens, where they used to find coherent meaning – and answers – in their religion or well-versed philosophy.

Those you work with want more than a Job today.
Most want more than a Career Ladder, which they’re destined to climb and clamber.

What they want… what they yearn for… is to know that they’re engaged in something of significance.
“Otherwise, what’s the point, eh?”

Your responsibility… my responsibility… as a Leader,
is to help them uncover and make sense of the meaning and significance within their work.

That’s one of the prime requirements of our role.
That’s our job: our Leadership Job.

Ultimately, it’s how they’ll judge us.

And with that judgement, they’ll either offer their backs for pay.

Or they’ll devote heart, mind and soul to make their efforts sing such a song…
That the world will want to listen.