A rebirth is a fresh view, renaissance, re-awaking, revival, return, resurgence, or a new start. I met with a man from another country. We talked about his vision for changing business education in his country. Near the end of the conversation he paused. I could see him making a big decision. He was deciding if he should share what he was really feeling.
He said he wanted to tell me a story. He was once in a top leadership role in a major corporation. He took an ethical stand on a given issue and it became a source of conflict. He soon received a severance offer of six million dollars. Taking it was the logical thing to do.
He pondered the offer then he decided not to take it, to stay and fight. He said the moment he decided to live by principle, his life changed dramatically and forever. He spent the next five years in a lonely legal battle with the corporation that was now accusing him of wrong doing. He eventually cleared his name but it cost him many hundreds of thousands in legal fees. Later the men he fought found themselves in serious difficulty over the issue in question. One called to apologize.
My visitor said, “I regularly flew to big cities, was picked up in limos, went to important meetings, stayed in five star hotels, and ate at great restaurants. It was an ego trap and I fell in. When you live that kind of life you begin to believe you are important and you lose touch with reality. The five years were lonely and painful but I became clear about what matters most. I want to make a fundamental difference in the world. I want to transform my country. I want all students in my country to discover what self-leadership is and why it matters. I want to connect them up so they can spread self-leadership to everyone they meet.”
This man made a fundamental life decision to live by principle in a difficult situation. Whenever we choose to live by principle the decision immediately changes the world and the evolving interaction with that changing world changes us. We go on a journey that takes us through deep darkness and eventually back into the light. In the process we are enlightened. We experience a rebirth, a fresh view, renaissance, re-awaking, revival, return, resurgence, or a new start. Our new self is a more empowered self, and we desire to use our power to empower the people in our community. I am grateful for the story of my visitor. It is the basic story of those who become transformational leaders.