They were taking a risk. They didn’t know these strangers, other than the connection of being friends of friends. Yet, they did it anyway. They opened their home in New Zealand to us. They demonstrated over-the-top hospitality as they planned and took us on an incredible tour of the northern island. Once I met this couple, I understood. Selwyn is a successful, nationally recognized business entrepreneur in the second season of his career. Sherry, his wife, is a wonderful leader who knows how to make people feel welcomed and comfortable. Both of these leaders have walked through the valley of pain and have chosen to grow from their experiences. Life has been anything but easy, however, they refuse to allow the struggles of life to negatively drive their journey.
Selwyn now serves as an ambassador of a New Zealand organization aimed at providing support so that those with disabilities might secure purposeful employment. His passion is derived from his own experience of employing the disabled within his company and seeing the powerful and positive impact this can have for a business or organization. As I listened to his story, his love for people and for life was infectiously enlightening. This executive could have retired and lived out his days in the luxury of financial security and rest. Instead, he chose to pivot his career and submerge himself into the business of helping people. Sherry not only supports him but participates by constantly giving back to others.
My new Kiwi friends served as a reminder, no actually more of a wake up call to me. Leadership has little to do with the bottom line of financial portfolios and much more to do with taking the risk to invest in others. In a world where the mantra seems to be "it's all about yourself" it seems we need leaders who are less about themselves and more about positively impacting others.
Inspirational leaders are those who consistently demonstrate a willingness to give to those around them with no personal agenda or gain. Thank you Selwyn and Sherry for choosing to be givers of life and love…you are making a difference!