Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Soul of a Legend

(Every now and again, I receive an email asking me why I spend so much space on my blog writing about issues of heart and soul. I usually send these individuals this excerpt from my book, Legendary Leadership.)

It was not solely Arthur’s superior skill with Excalibur that caused (Knights) to swear allegiance to him. It was the character of the man wielding the sword. It was not the crown on his head that inspired the Knights of the Round Table to fight at Arthur’s side. It was the flaming crown in his soul.

In Stephen R. Lawhead’s Arthurian tales (The Pendragon Cycle) young Merlin’s teacher, Blaise, speaks of this authority when he explains:

It is a great thing to be king, Hawk. A very great thing, indeed. But there is authority of a kind even kings must bend to. Discover this and whether you wear a torc of gold or beggar’s rags, your name will burn forever in men’s minds. (Vol. 2, Merlin)

Even without the crown or the throne, people would have bent the knee to Arthur. Why? Because his soul possessed an authority that people could see in his demeanor, hear in his words, and feel in his presence. It was what he was as a human that gave authority and power to his skills.

What makes men or women Legendary Leaders is how their souls are shaped.  As I see them, there is an unalterable commitment to maintaining their values and ideals, and an inexorable promise to themselves to striving for excellence and greatness in all that they do.  There is nothing small or petty about such people; they have large visions, huge hearts and lofty standards to which they hold themselves accountable.

When we see the achievements of George Washington and William Wilberforce, Marie Curie and Mother Teresa, Michelangelo and Einstein, we stand in awe of what they accomplished, and rightfully so. However, what made their accomplishments possible—if not inevitable—was the quality of their souls.

When we think about the greatness of our heroes, skills and competencies, talents and abilities, are often all that we consider. However critical these are, I believe it is the unseen quality of their souls that made the difference between a good leader and a Legendary Leader: a good father or mother, or a legendary one, a good business leader, or a legendary one, a good teacher or a legendary one.

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, March 2011


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