“What’s become clear to you since we last met”

Posted in Leadership, Life on March 21st, 2011 by kjr – 11,916 Comments

For those of my readers who are RLF grads, I hope the title of this post brings you a smile and some warm, powerful, teachable memories.

For others, some background; I understand that Ralph Waldo Emerson would greet friends he had not seen for a time with this question – “What’s become clear to you since we last met?”

For whatever reason, it seems to transport a conversation immediately to a deeper and more meaningful level than simply ‘how are you?’ or ‘how’ve you been?’

So after a long break in writing I’ll summarize what’s become clear to me since we last met – virtually, of course.

  • Structure (like a commitment to write a weekly blog post 🙂 ) can at times feel like a straight jacket to me.
  • Work-life balance is hard, and fragile.
  • When we commit ourselves to something not totally under our control, then items of our own desire will take a “back seat”.
  • Life is uncertain, and fragile


Two friends, good to great leaders I will add, had their jobs eliminated. An earthquake of an 8.9 magnitude puts the efforts, tasks, and ambitions of humans, compared to forces of nature in perspective. I said a final goodbye to a dear friend who passed away – she was a person who made me feel needed, important, valued.

When responsibility progresses beyond that first level of leadership, then you, by the very nature of the task, are leading leaders.

It’s easy to be a leader, when times are good and people like you. It’s something else when you need to be steadfast to what you know is right, in the face of opposition.

Knowing when – means you must know yourself . . .

Posted in Leadership, Life on January 13th, 2011 by kjr – 1 Comment

I took a walk the other day, before yesterday’s storm dumping on us with another 24″ of course. It was a beautiful day and I am fortunate to live close to the Connecticut Blue Trail System. At a point I came to this section of the trail. The Blue Trail continued where you see the tracks of either tires or a snowmobiles, not sure which. The more narrow side trial had this single set of foot prints leading up hill.

It made me think of the last verse of a well known poem that reads:

Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I  then pondered how does one know when to take that road less traveled? Me, I like the well worn path. I appreciate things well proven. I see wisdom in the well established.

Yet, there are times when I have had to go that lone path and taken a turn less popular, unknown, and one that left me open to critics and cynics both.

It “feels” less risky, easier, and popular to stay on the well worn and wider path, but, is it?

Don’t you think it’s wisdom that guides us then? But wisdom must be established on values.  Values – those unalterable convictions we hold?

Don’t you need to Know yourself well in order to know when we should take the path less traveled? When we are unwilling to stay the course of others. I think this is a part of wisdom, knowing yourself – weakness and strength, the pleasing and the uncomely.

And values, do you know what the few core values are that you hold? I don’t think there can be more than 5 to 7 core important values any one person holds so high that they believe they will not compromise on them.

And the full poem I was thinking of . . .

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

Choice in the balance …

Posted in Life on January 10th, 2011 by kjr – 2 Comments

A friend of mine does something wonderful for me. Every Friday he sends some of us a few short words of encouragement, wisdom, and often includes various quotes to make his point.

I look forward to them each week, and on the rare occasion (very rare) when he’s a day or so late, I wonder if everything is alright, or if he thinks we don’t appreciate it enough. But then he has always produced.

Thanks Jay!!

Well, last Friday he sent a quote that caused me to think again about how significant the choices we make are.

I went back and looked at my 15 Axioms and realized that 4 of them actually deal with choice. And without really thinking about it I had grouped them together, building on each other in a sense. These are Axioms:

6. Fear is not a choice

7. Courage is the proactive response to fear

8. Choose to ignore the voices of negativity – which are pervasive

9. The “right” choice is often hard

Oh, and the quote Jay sent:

“Between two evils, choose neither; between two goods, choose both.”

From the book, Wise Words and Quotes” by Vern McLellan

Well said, don’t you think?