Growth, leadership, opportunity and wisdom are 4 solid foundation principles when considering personal development or business up skilling. The 4 also form the acronym for an adaptable leadership development program – GLOW.
Because I love both ‘Pixar’ and creative metaphors we’ve developed 4 colorful cartoon characters to represent in our thought tank (like a fish tank but with an ocean of possibility to break out of the confined habitual mind space one might otherwise operate from).
Here’s some pearls of wisdom about the principles tied to the appropriate fishy avatars:
Benjamin Franklin said that ‘without continual growth such words as improvement, success and achievement have no meaning’.
In our thought tank, the puffer fish became a symbol to remind you the logical reasoning for personal GROWTH. Puffer fish are exceptionally maneuverable you see, using multiple fins for momentum.
Puffer fish are also exceptionally elasticated so are ready to grow quickly if required. They generally only use their remarkable elasticity for growth when threatened. And that’s a perfect caution for human growth. Many people only wait until a problem or crisis rears its head in order to be willing to grow. Pro-actively developing and adapting your internal tool kit, the mind, on a continuous basis means when threats of any kind emerge you’ll be intrinsically resourced to handle them better.
‘The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness’ – Lao Tzu
‘Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.’ – Marie Curie
Leadership isn’t a job title or label on a business card. Leadership is a willingness to majestically and graciously head the charge with others willing to follow. It’s also about having the social skills to know when to lead from behind and let others be the ones out in front.
Leadership in the environment of animal kingdoms is determined through a natural method of communication and social hierarchal structures. You may not be aware of this but the word ‘manage’ as in ‘management’ actually comes from an old Latin word which in the middle ages became ‘maneggiare’; which literally meant to put a horse through it’s paces.
So tying the theme of leadership into business means majestically, leading the charge, like a well trained horse, through a combination of personal character, values, social communication skills and a sense of community. The sea horse therefore is our thought tank character representing radiant, dignified leadership.
‘If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader’ – John Quincy Adams
‘Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies’ – Mother Theresa
Thomas Edison thought that ‘most people miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work’. Napoleon Hill was of the opinion that ‘your big opportunity might be where you are right now’.
Opportunity is the tangible actualisation of LUCK – using your present location, where you are in life, along with your understanding, connections and knowledge. By combining these elements (an acronym) you’ll create your LUCK!
As a symbolic representation of these principles in our aquatic themed thought tank, the obvious representation became the hermit crab. As hermit crabs grow they are always on the look out for a more appropriate home to carry on their backs. And when selecting potential new homes they do so in a civilised, communal, collaborative manner. Hermit crabs will form a queue around potential shells in order to try them on for size, largest to smallest. They then share share each others outgrown shells as they go. So our hermit crab is a good visual nudge to be on the lookout for the next perfect opportunity and to make sure you do so in a collaborative, communal manner.
‘Your big opportunity may be right where you are now.’ – Napoleon Hill
‘The amount of good luck coming your way depends on your willingness to act.’ – Barbara Sher
Wisdom is an ability to leverage insight, knowledge, internal common sense and experience.
Wisdom was historically also considered a cardinal virtue (along with principles such as temperance, justice, prudence and courage).
Considering these factors and also looking at modern trends in development you could summarise wisdom as being the ability to balance one’s immediate or emotional reactions to ensure that optimum judgment be leveraged at all times for the best possible outcome.
Wisdom means putting knowledge into action rather than leaving it in a classroom or on the pages of a book. With wisdom being frequently associated with experience, experience being something often gained over time, wisdom is frequently characterised by wise old men, like Gandalf. The prominent barbels on a catfish (some species of which can also be found in salt water) made it the perfect choice for our final character in the tank.
‘A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination’ – Nelson Mandela
‘To handle yourself use your head. To handle others use your heart.’ – Eleanor Roosevelt
GLOW – Principle Themes for our Seasonal Newsletter.
Thanks to Paco Casares for bringing the Thought Tank Characters to Life