Monday, October 31, 2016

Harvard Business Review Takes on the “F” Word–Forgiveness

Can life be lived without a trace of bitterness?

Last week I was at Pebble Beach for John Maxwell’s annual fundraiser, the Leadership Open. I know, I know, I have it rough—I feel sorry for me too. I have a very generous best friend that loves golf and leadership, so off we went. I spent the week hanging around with a bunch of wealthy folks. If I had to describe them in one word, it would be (drumroll please)… humble!

Granted, this was primarily a faith-based crowd, but deeper conversations led to some very meaningful discoveries. I realized that my friends at Pebble (and the many new people I met) had been through major personal failures and disappointments. They had the same hurts and scars and regrets that I have (that all of us have). But they had moved on, gotten up, and moved forward—all without getting bitter. They had learned the leaders’ secret to long term health: forgiveness.

Most of you know who I am and how I am. I love meeting new people and asking meaningful questions. As soon as you get to heart-level questions, you get some very real answers. I quickly learned that many of these people had been mistreated, everyone I talked to had at least one failed business, and they all had challenges with family and friends. But they had forgiven those who had hurt them, and moved on. They were no longer carrying the burdens of their past hurts and failures. That’s a hallmark of successful people. But how do they do it?

Several of these very wealthy people used the F word: Forgiveness. CLICK TO TWEET.

Here’s what a Harvard Business Review Article (HBR) reports:

When you cannot forgive the people who have hurt you, these feelings become a mental poison that destroys the system from within. As numerous studies have shown, hatred, spite, bitterness, and vindictiveness create fertile ground for stress disorders, negatively affecting your immune system. And, to boot, an unforgiving attitude is positively correlated to depression, anxiety, hostility, and neuroticism, and associated with premature death.

LeaderTribers, you know how I promise to keep it real with you. You can’t miss this next part. Stop reading here, sit up a little straighter, and dial in. I have a big gift that I’m putting on the table, it’s a gift of truth that has your name on it. But you have to open it and receive it to enjoy its benefits. Otherwise the gift sits there looking pretty, but brings no lasting benefit for you. Here it is: learning to forgive is a gift—it frees you from bitterness and set’s your heart free.

The article continued: Those who cannot forgive… will never be the kinds of leaders that get the best out their followers. The ability to forgive is an essential capability for any leader wishing to make a difference.

“The ability to forgive is essential!” BOOM! That’s not the Bible, that’s Harvard Business…CLICK TO TWEET.

THE BOTTOM LINE: If you, as a leader, don’t learn to forgive, you’re hurting yourself, your family, and your followers. Be willing to pay the price for someone else’s mistake. Choose to do that—you’ll set yourself free. (More next week.)

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