Inspired Leadership: 2 Stories, 8 Quotes, & 7 Books to Keep You Going


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I love being inspired. I love getting teary eyed, choked up, and goose-bumpy…truth be told, it’s not that hard to get me there .

Since I was feeling a bit nostalgic with the New Year, I compiled a list of my own. 2 leadership stories, 8 quotes, and 7 books that either leave me feeling like I can do anything, or a bit like I should be doing much, much better and to go make that happen!

I hope you feel the same…

2 Stories

Leading with Compassion and Courage: Leaders are often hailed for their strategic vision, their expert decision making, for doing what no one else could. Princess Diana’s superpower was her compassion. In 1987, she visited an AIDS hospital. Remember, back then AIDS was absolutely terrifying. Scientists didn’t know how it was spread and who could catch it, we just knew there was NO CURE.

Princess Diana changed the entire world’s perception of how to treat people with AIDS when, without hesitation or gloves, she shook hands with the hospital staff and the patients. It was pure love, human being to human being, without fear and without latex. She showed compassion and more importantly…everyone noticed. It truly changed how the world looked at people inflicted with this disease from that moment forth. (Read the full story here)

Leading with Levelheadedness: When we have all the time in the world to assess, analyze, predict, and research, we feel pretty good about our decision making. It’s when a crisis hits that you really earn your leadership chops.

People on US Airways Flight 1549, January 15, 2009, were quite thankful for the chops of their pilot, Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger. He had no time to flip through the instructor manual on “How to Land a Plane After You Hit Geese”, so Cpt. Sully made deductions and decisions in split seconds. Miraculously, he and 154 others walked away when he landed their plane on the Hudson River. What’s captivating is how much had to happen in such little time. And we’re talking extreme consequences here: a life or death situation. He was able to lean in and do what he had to do, and thankfully, had faith in his skills to do it. (Read the oh-so-impressive minute by minute here)

8 Favorite Inspirational Quotes

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” – Stephen Covey. Being leaders, we have to meet people where they are. Then, and only then, can we introduce our own point of view.

“You must touch the heart to teach the mind.” – Jack Hanna. Knowing what your people care about, why they do the work you do…that’s where their motivation lies. Connect with that and you begin the steps to the first quote.

“Leap, you’ll grow your wings on the way down.” – Les Brown. For me, 2 things happen here. Often, we don’t know the amount of support we’ll get until we jump into the unknown, seemingly alone. Secondly, the wings take some time to develop, they are not instant, but they grow (ahem, yes…before you hit the ground).

“No one can whistle a symphony, it takes an entire orchestra to play it.” – H.E. Luccock. Well, if that doesn’t get you to appreciate everyone’s gifts and idiosyncrasies I don’t know what will.

“Those who fear failure, haven’t tasted it yet.” – Simon Sinek. A personal favorite. If there is one quote that slays fear of failure for me, this is it.

“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” – Rosalyn Carter. Talk about having the courage to do what’s right and not what’s easy. The former first lady challenges leaders to be courageous, trust their values, and get people there.

“When I talk to managers, I get the feeling they are important. When I talk to leaders, I get the feeling I am important.” – Alexander Den Heijer. Damn. That’s just good.

“You cannot control the winds, but you can adjust the sails.” – Jim Rohn. When we try to control things we cannot, it leads to stress, frustration, and exhaustion. When we shift to this approach, we begin to master our fate. Remember, merrily and gently down the stream.

7 Awesome Leadership Books

Mindset: Carol Dweck. Still think leaders are born not made? Read this and then we’ll talk.

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: Marshall Goldsmith. Doing what we’ve done to get this far has been an amazing accomplishment, but to supersede this you must challenge your tried & true.

The Coaching Habit: Michael Bungay-Stainer. A clear and simple how to book on bringing coaching into your leadership and management practice.

Your Erroneous Zones: Wayne Dyer. This book changed my life, it spoke directly to my weaknesses, and then helped me ditch them.

Quiet Leadership: David Rock. Leaders aren’t the loudest or the biggest. Leaders are the ones that can rally the troops and people want to be alongside them. This book shares how.

Platinum 360: LL Cool J. Yup, you read that right. LL has some serious game on how to shape your whole life: business and health. I mean, look at the guy…he’s relevant now, 2019, and it’s not just because only ladies love him.

Blink: Malcolm Gladwell. Do you believe in trusting your gut, that you have instinct? If not, this will help you develop that primal relationship with what that feels like.

I hope you are feeling inspired, now go do something with it!

Karyn Chylewski
I spent 20 years working in a diverse range of leadership roles before starting my leadership coaching practice. From working as a backcountry hut master to restaurant management, to leading a team in the intense pet care industry, I learned that the key to leadership success is all in relationships. I now help leaders build better connections with their team, navigate their relationships, and understand the human side of leadership so they can become better leaders, improve team morale, and achieve higher performance. I love spending time outdoors, with my family, great wine & conversations.


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