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Myself in the Mirror Sees Me

 “I see myself in the mirror. Myself in the mirror sees me.” - unidentified poet

Looking into your mirror, have you ever reflected on the happenstance that’s allowed you to do what you’ve done?


We’ve all been exposed to sources of brilliance that have quietly sparked us to do some amazing things. Sure, education and training provided fertile ground, but what are examples you saw others set that quietly influenced the way that you work? Just a few samples from my own past:

  • I recall the late Russell Lloyd, esteemed steel industry employee benefits expert. The regard and deference for Russ’s expertise helped to support the industry through a period of turmoil and transition.  Bolstering his considerable subject matter expertise were his positivity, personal magnetism and an unassailable smile that engaged potential detractors to listen, collaborate and forge consensus. Just watching him at work was a real education. 

  • In the wake of 9/11, and in the face of the great national fear and uncertainty, former National Red Cross CEO Dr. Bernadine Healy navigated the seemingly insurmountable barriers to allow the Red Cross to resupply its chapter in New York City, and to provide desperately needed disaster relief replenishments when all traditional modes of transport and logistics had been shut down – planes, trains, highways, waterways.  In the face of government and military counsel that told her there was no way to timely resupply New York relief efforts, she nonetheless pieced together a creative strategy and got it done!  A unique lesson in “never say never.”

  • When a high-profile industry prepared to introduce robotics into one of its largest manufacturing operations, at a time when there was still great resistance to the employment threat posed by robotics, a defiant union leadership made it clear – “there ain’t gonna be no robots in my plant.”  Yet a careful collaboration and a cross functional initiative gently and patiently conceived and shepherded a process to evolve the union’s point of view. Robots were eventually introduced – and without confrontation or disruption.    


Like me, you’ve personally witnessed the examples set by the manner, innovation and courage of others.  I’ve internalized the lessons inadvertently modeled by these people, and by scores of others.  In reflection, we’re a product of all those people whose paths we’ve crossed. We’ve consciously or subconsciously made note of their examples, their talents, and their brilliance – and in some cases their ineptness – regardless of their station or pedigree.  But this does open two huge questions – who influenced them?  And looking ahead, how will we inadvertently influence others whose paths will cross ours?  


These are some of my stories. You have yours. Think about it. Why do you approach some of your challenges the way you do? Who was it that made a meaningful and lasting impression? The amazing things you’ve done…how did you know what to do? 

Do take another look in your mirror.

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