Leadership is about helping someone for their benefit. – Nick Saban
After returning from a leadership conference that my work encouraged each of us to attend, I came back with a renewed sense of clarity and purpose to accomplish my own personal growth. James Brown, one of the speakers at the event stated that personal depth determines height of success. Like a building, you can never soar to great heights unless your foundation is deep and strong. Thing is, we cannot build our foundations alone, we need to accept help.
Dr. Henry Cloud, another speaker at the event spoke of a “map of leaders”. On that map are corners that specifically address our connections to other people. He stated that the human mind does not grow unless it is connected with others; to leaders. It has been scientifically proven that our brains physically cannot make completed neuron connections if we isolated emotionally from other people. He then demonstrated on the “map of leaders” that there are four corners of connection. In one corner you have “no connection”. This would be when we are isolated from connecting with others. In the next corner, we have bad connection. That is when we are connected those who emotionally drag us down and cause us to regress. In the third corner we have pseudo-connection. Those are those fake connections that we make; like a used car salesman who is only nice to you to make a sale. Then finally, in the fourth corner are the real connections. Those are the connections that inspire growth within us and give us strength to plow through our toughest days; without these kind of connections our lives become empty.
My mentor, Yves Doucet has been that real connection for me. I am nearing my 2nd year at Dovico Software and Yves has been anything but your typical boss. Yes, he leads our company with great ambition and direction and yes, he still makes very difficult decisions but at the end of the day he is a quality person and someone who strives to make a difference simply by inspiring and empowering others to grow themselves. When I came to Dovico, I thought I had things figured out. I was so comfortable in my ways that unbeknownst to me I had stopped growing professionally and personally. Then I came to Dovico and met all the growing leaders who work there, it was then that I realized that I had stopped growing. I also realized that I had found that I was in the right place to start. Yves had created that character building culture by learning from his own personal struggles.
At first I didn’t trust Yves. Not because he was untrustworthy -far from it- but because of my own personal trepidation of allowing anther person influence over me. I kind of had that feeling of “too good to be true” when it came to analyzing my new boss. I had gone so long with bad and pseudo connections in my life that aside from a very few people, I had closed the door to allowing any new or “real” connections to affect me. Over time I grew to trust Yves and ultimately I became inspired me to open my mind to making even more new connections and facing new challenges in which to grow.
Yves positively influences people to move into action. He doesn’t do this with his title or his status within the community or company. He doesn’t do it with money or gifts. He does it through simply living out his own personal experience and giving away his time to others. He is not afraid to share his weakness if it means you can learn and become stronger from his experience. When I went to him about a possible TEDx talk submission, he simply stated “let’s do it!”. There was no thinking, there was no weighing pro’s and con’s, just “let’s do it”. He encouraged me to proceed even though he was also throwing his name into the hat to speak at the event. Ultimately, it turned out that he was not selected to speak, yet he still helped me all along the entire process thus putting aside his own disappointment. He is a prime example of an authentic and selfless leader. I learned a lot from this exercise at TEDx but I learned even more about being a real leader.
Over the past two years I have been able to catch glimpses of what waits for me on the other side of uncomfortable. Yves has -in his own way- gotten me to move forward and never look back and that personal growth only comes through being uncomfortable in my limits. Through his help and that of the many of other real connections that I have made along the way, I have been able to acquire great personal depth and now my foundation is rock solid. The only questions I have are: How far will I soar? Who knows? But when my day comes, I know I will be prepared.
Thank you Yves, for everything that you do.