Last week, as part of our Voices of Wisdom™ Webinar Series, Eleanor Taylor, Director of Board Relations for the University of Chicago and former Chief of Staff at Argonne National Laboratories, delivered an impactful session on Leading with Intention. As one of the most intentional people I know, Eleanor was well suited to lead this discussion. Here are the Top 10 highlights from Eleanor’s wisdom:

  1. Leadership is service, not position.
  2. Authenticity is essential for intentional leadership.
  3. Common sense vs. common practice - knowing and doing are NOT the same.
  4. Gratitude is a powerful tool and practiced art.
  5. Compassion is critical.
  6. Practicing mindfulness increases your effectiveness.
  7. Pause with and on purpose.
  8. Be transformational vs. transactional.
  9. Seek out and articulate the positive.
  10. Time is our most scarce and coveted resource. Choose wisely.

Of course, there were more than 10, and each one was important individually and as a collective. If you are a Corporate Member of GWLF, do go to the Corporate Member Portal of our website, and take a listen. You’ll be glad you did.

On Saturday, I walked a 5K for the Living Well Resource Center. Living Well is a provider of services for anyone who has received a cancer diagnosis. Services include free counseling, Reiki, massage, reflexology, cooking, nutrition, art and exercise classes … and so much more. Living Well is a community for those of us who have been delivered to a club that none of us asked to be a part. The services are available for a lifetime. I went to Living Well when I was finished with my treatment to get strong, stay strong. The disease robs your dignity. It’s more than one can handle to go to a regular gym when you are so frail and have no hair. At Living Well, it’s safe. Everyone knows and has lived the experience.

As I made the walk, I held such profound gratitude in my heart. Two years ago, I was not able to walk unaided. I longed for the mundane... to be able to walk a block, stand upright without help. Now, here I was, walking with my most favorite of teammates, the O’Brien Family. I walked upright and strong, with only a slight limp from the steel rod that is now housed from my right hip to my kneecap, protecting my femur that had been eaten away from cancer. I cried through the entire walk. I cried for those who are being diagnosed today, for the journey that they will have to walk. I cried for the gift of life that I am still able to experience. I cried for the outpouring of love that was bestowed upon our entire family. As I walked behind my four children, I felt enormous pride that each of them leads with intention. They too walk strong, upright. They have been through things well beyond what their job descriptions as kids should have had to be. Yet they walked on. They, along with my husband, carried me, when I could not carry myself. With integrity. With intention. With a bigness of trust that we would get to the other side. And we did.

So how is it that YOU lead with intention? Do you walk upright? Strong? Do you look for opportunities to lift others along the way? Do you practice mindfulness? Compassion? Do you take time to pause with purpose and consider the way you are leading your own life? Do you deliver beyond your job description?

These are questions that I would invite you to consider on a regular basis. Leading with intention requires it. If each of us were to dedicate time to leading/living with intention, I believe we could change the world for the better. I challenge you to ask yourself these questions (and then act on them) for the next 30 days. I’ll look forward to hearing about your journey.

In the meantime, keep lookin’ up!