This too shall pass

June 5, 2013

this too shall passHe was brilliant and rich beyond measure, but also moody. He suffered from massive highs and dismal lows. The suffering was so great that King Solomon requested his most trusted minister, Benaiah ben Yehoyada, find a magical ring that would temper his moods–something to make a sad man happy and a happy man sad. Solomon considered it a fool’s errand, and he gave Benaiah six months to find such a ring largely because he wanted to teach Benaiah a lesson in humility. As you might expect, King Solomon was the one who received the lesson when Benaiah returned with a beautiful gold ring with the inscription in Hebrew, “gimel, zayin, yud,” meaning, “This too shall pass.”

That phrase is a reminder of the impermanence of moods, and the wearer of the ring need only to look upon it to keep from getting too high or too low.

As a leader, you are susceptible, like King Solomon, to the vagaries of mood. And you must find a way to keep those moods in check, since they can have a tremendous impact on others, not just yourself.

Not all that long ago, a visitor was preparing to read to an elementary school class when he received some horrific news. The visitor kept his composure, despite tremendous inner turmoil. Though there were many things he might have done in that moment, he felt that the most important thing for him to do was to let the country know that “this too shall pass.” He spent the next six minutes reading a book to the elementary school children before excusing himself to confer with his advisers.

Many have criticized George Bush’s decision, but imagine the level of emotional discipline that it would have taken to be in his position and remain calm. Can you think of a time when chaos was all around you and you found a way to stay calm to find the zone so you could be more effective as a leader?

No matter how great or how bad you think you or your circumstances are, remember, this too shall pass. In the end we are all just dust. This lesson is drawn from The “I” of Leadership, a great new book by Nigel Nicholson.

Tempering your moods can not only calm yourself and your team, but also drive performance. Knowing your values can provide a similar amount of consistency and steady performance. Have you ranked your values? If not, try this rock solid values assessment.


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