One of my favorite goodness concepts is nothing significant ever happens alone. And never has that been more true than what happened at the Masters Alliance Young Leaders episode of the Good Leadership Breakfast Series. One hundred and eighteen young leaders attended at the invitation of ticket-holders to hear this compelling message: All of the unexpected twists and turns in life can be good for you, if you live and lead with goodness. Because goodness pays.
The event was the brainchild of one of my friends and mentors, J Allen, CEO of Masters Alliance. In August of 2017, we experimented with the concept by hosting one table of young leaders – we wanted to see if they understood, appreciated, and learned anything from the goodness pays message. Their enthusiastic endorsement directly led to this year’s smashing success. We enjoyed record-setting attendance and a new burst of energy that only youth can provide.
Part of the magic came from our 29-year-old speaker, Lindsey Riley. Rather than present the goodness pays message through the voice of a parent-figure, Lindsey spoke to the young leaders as a peer: married with two children, juggling the aspirations of family, work, and aspirations for adventurous travel. She spoke with courage, poise, and humor about her life-threatening childhood blood disease which required a bone marrow transplant. And she shared the importance of how the Make-A-Wish Foundation gave her family an aspirational boost when the treatment was draining. She definitely had our attention when she shared, “A child who faces death at such an impressionable age is given an intimate look at the concept of our own mortality and it is impossible to leave the experience the same kid you once were.”
But the twists and turns for her life were not done after a full recovery. Her health care journey and experience caused her to believe she should pursue medical school and become a physician. But she found herself really enjoying a career in research and product development at Medtronic. “One day it hit me…Can choosing what we want to do, bring more good to the world than what we believe we should do?” she proposed. You can listen to our podcast featuring Lindsey Riley here.
Throughout the course of the breakfast event, I kept a keen eye on the level of satisfaction and engagement in our sponsor, J Allen. His premise: the seasoned leaders (not “old” leaders) in the room have a responsibility to encourage young leaders to be generous and bold in pursuing their goals. From the stage, I asked him what he hoped the young leaders will take away from the day. Speaking directly to them, he said: “I hope you don’t give into your fear when you have the opportunity to share ideas and take responsibility. At our worst, we only see huge downsides to taking risks as leaders. But in hindsight, the downsides are never as big as they seem. And, I want you to learn to live with goodness!”
The overwhelming success of the Young Leaders format has us wondering “What’s possible?” for next year.
Good leaders invite young leaders to set aside their fears and consider what’s possible in their leadership. And they set the example of how goodness pays.
Please share with me: What message are you passing along to young leaders?