I have to tell you about a phone call I had yesterday.
I was speaking with Jane Holl Lute. Jane taught me international relations 30 years ago when I was a cadet at West Point. She was a fireball of a professor known for throwing chalk at students who weren’t paying attention. She went on to serve as #2 at the United Nations, leading peacekeeping efforts there. Jane brings the courage of a warrior to the delicate and complex work of international peacemaking. I admire the heck out of this woman and when I see her name splash across my phone, you better believe I pick up.
In the course of our conversation yesterday, Jane mentioned some of the leaders she was working with on a project. Recognizing all the names, I nodded and said, “yeah…the adults in the room…” to signal that I was paying attention (aka avoiding chalk being thrown at me) and had a sense of who she was talking about.
She stopped our conversation short and said, “let’s talk about this ‘adults in the room’ thing. I’ve heard some people proudly claim that other people have to earn their respect. You know what? No one needs to earn my respect. You get my respect. You have to earn my admiration – that’s another thing entirely. But
You don’t have to earn my respect, you just get it.
Touché, Jane Holl Lute. Touché.
Here we are 30 years later and Jane is still my teacher. I instantly got the lesson and decided I’m not going to make snarky comments about “the adults in the room” or “any functioning adult” anymore. I’m with Jane: you don’t have to earn my respect, either. You just get it.
Later in the conversation Jane said, “The main difference between World War I and World War II was generosity. Winners must be generous.”
I wanted to pass these two pearls of wisdom from a lifelong peacemaker along in case it might be useful to you in the weeks and months ahead.
It is so important to have people in your life who will stop you mid-sentence to remind you of your best self and invite you into a more expansive vision of what’s possible. Just like Jane Holl Lute did for me yesterday.
That is exactly what we’re going to be doing with folks in our Coaching Community launching this October.
I want to invite you to a sneak-peak Open House on September 15th at 10:30 PT.
Joe McCannon and Susan X. Jane and I will give you a taste of what this whole coaching community is gonna be. Or you can get a basic sense here.
I hope to see many of you there.
p.s. if that RSVP link didn’t work for you, try this link here.