In his classic book, Good to Great, the famed management guru Jim Collins created a lasting and memorable metaphor by comparing a business to a bus and the leader as a bus driver. He emphasizes that it is crucial to continuously ask “First Who, Then What?”
You are a bus driver. The bus, your company, is at a standstill, and it’s your job to get it going. You have to decide where you're going, how you're going to get there, and who's going with you.
Most people assume that great bus drivers (read: business leaders) immediately start the journey by announcing to the people on the bus where they're going—by setting a new direction or by articulating a fresh corporate vision.
In fact, leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with “where” but with “who.” They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. And they stick with that discipline—first the people, then the direction—no matter how dire the circumstances.
I would like to adapt this metaphor of the “on the bus and off the bus” to our lives in the "second half". What are the changes that we need to make in our "circles"- the people who are with us, around us and who impact us? Are we aware of how much our lives our influenced by having the "wrong people on our bus"?
I brought this exercise to our stellar group called "Harveting your Wisdom", which I have had the privilege of faciliating for two years now on Zoom. I presented them with this exercise and encouraged them to explore the metaphor in their own lives: Who do they want IN and who do they want OUT?
We all know this intuitively: difficult and toxic people DRAIN us, they keep us stuck, bring out the worst in us, keep us in our "small self" and far away from our "Bigger Self". They do it out of hypercriticism, pessimistic character, argumentative nature, out of sheer habit, oftentimes they don't know any better and we probably don't tell them how much they affect us negatively.
Can we "rid us of them", distance from them, neutralize, dilute, reframe- you name it- can it be done? Well, it depends...sometimes they are family members who are not going away and we just have to tolerate them. To a certain degree. BUT...oftentimes we can do quite a lot and simply do not have the awareness, courage or tools to keep them as far away as possible. I ask- in the second half of life, haven't we earned the right to decide who is "right for us" and who is just not? Don't we have any control of who is on our "bus"? Of course we do!
In our group exercise, I was quite floored what I heard! Each individual was honest, bold and extremely earnest in putting his/her bus "in order". We left all the guilt trips, uneasiness and political correctness outside the room and really explored and shared- THAT is the stuff you can do with a great group!
Now, who will you put in your CAR?
And then I decided to make the exercise even harder. It's one thing to have 20 seats on a bus and get lots of people on it without really digging deep to use and discern who should be there. But what about in a car? If you suddenly have only 4 or 5 seats...what do you do THEN? Who will you want in your "car" as you drive forward into the horizon, in the later years of your life, knowing that there will be hurdles, losses and declines but ALSO knowing that in most cases there will also be intimate moments of meaning, happiness, value and spiritual and personal growth IF we allow ourselves to be there and do the work?
The confidential secure space of the group allowed for some amazingly profound reflection, exploration and values-clarification. It was certainly a "wow" exercise if I ever saw one, and I have seen plenty....
So, I ask all of you readers: who do you want on YOUR bus and in YOUR car and who do you want to "steer elsewhere"? It does not mean that you disconnect in most cases- absolutely not! We can love and appreciate many people while knowing that they are just not cut out to be with us in certain situations. Most importantly is to cut out, distance and dilute the "toxicity generators"- they can really cause you to lose the zest for life.
We have earned quite a bit with our graying hair and less than young bodies. We have earned the right to get clear on our values and the people we want to be with and near us.
Let's get the right people on our bus sooner than later. They can make all the difference in our lives.
Interested in connecting with me/ joining the programs?
- My website has been updated to reflect the new and diverse offerings on “meaning in the second half of life”- please have a look, perhaps something might resonate with you at this time? wisdom-opportunity.com
- Join the “Harvest your Wisdom” Zoom group- finishing up our second year- a new series every month, a powerful, inspiring group of wise elders exploring personal development in our wisdom years. For further reading and interest.
**Join the November series (rolling admissions, enter at any time) of a superb group of wise elders from around the world who have been coming together for 2 years now, once a week, to explore, share, inspire new learning and insights around what it means to “harvest your wisdom” in the second half of life.
Coming up in November:
Dates and times: Wed., November 2, 9, 16, 30. Times: 12:00-14:30 EST in the US, (19:00-21:30 in Israel)- participants in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa, please check your time zones).
November 2: Tell us about a time you felt most alive. What was there in your life that made you feel “most alive”? In our session we will dig deep and explore what “makes us tick” most deeply and meaningfully at this time of life.
November 9: The Sacred Art of Listening: how well are we listening? How deep are we listening? In our session, we will reflect, experience and share what is at the core of “powerful listening” and how to bring that quality to our daily conversations and interactions.
November 16: Tell us about an experience that made you see things differently. What happened to create that powerful shift in perspective? In our session we will explore and share how such “paradigm shifts” occur and how we can maintain them over time.
November 30: Can “having regrets” actually be a positive thing in our lives? According to acclaimed author, Daniel H. Pink in his latest bold and inspiring work, “The Power of Regret”, everybody has regrets, they’re a fundamental part of our lives, if we reckon with them in fresh and imaginative ways we can use our regrets to bring about a deeper sense of meaning and purpose in our lives. Stay tuned for this session to be challenged and inspired!
(No session on November 23rd, due to Thanksgiving holiday in the US)
Sounds interesting and exciting to check out this opportunity ? Drop me a line today to learn more and sign up!
- My website has been updated to reflect the new and diverse offerings on “meaning in the second half of life”- please have a look: www.wisdom-opportunity.com
Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction. Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect. Chief Seattle
Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean. Ryunosuke Satoro
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