The Death of Socrates by Jacques-Louis David, 1787 (Wikipedia, public domain)
Those of us who create with words, sounds and images as part of our work have a special talent.
We can touch the hearts and minds of people whom we've never met, and give them something to think about, something to feel, something to take action on.
What a wonderful gift that is. And in this week when many in the United States are giving thanks, it's an appropriate time to reflect on the responsibility that accompanies that gift.
While we have platforms to influence and touch the lives of others by leading, we also have an opportunity to serve at the same time. The concept of servant leadership is bound by the desire to serve first, then to lead.
In 1999, Fred Rogers (yes, Mister Rogers, whom we've discussed here before) gave an acceptance speech when he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. In part, he said:
“I feel that those of us in television are chosen to be servants. It doesn’t matter what our particular job, we are chosen to help meet the deeper needs of those who watch and listen – day and night!
“Who in your life has been such a servant to you … who has helped you love the good that grows within you? Let’s just take ten seconds to think of some of those people who have loved us and wanted what was best for us in life -those who have encouraged us to become who we are tonight – just ten seconds of silence.
“No matter where they are – either here or in heaven – imagine how pleased those people must be to know that you thought of them right now.
“We all have only one life to live on earth. And through television, we have the choice of encouraging others to demean this life or to cherish it in creative imaginative ways.”
You can watch the entire speech here, including a wonderful gift that Rogers was given at the beginning of the segment.
"The real issue in life is not how many blessings we have, but what we do with our blessings. Some people have many blessings and hoard them. Some have few and give everything away."
— Fred Rogers [click to tweet]
So whether you're creating a campaign, leading a team, training a new group of employees, giving a speech, or making a show that will be seen on screens around the world, you are endowed with a special gift that will touch the eyes, ears, minds, and hearts of others.
May today and all the days ahead be a blessing to you and to those you choose to serve with your gifts.