What Makes a Person Shine?

What separates people who feel fulfilled from those who suffer with regret? Here’s a hint: it isn’t money in the bank, fame, trophies, or rank, as much as those may matter. Many people don’t finish first but nonetheless achieve greatness and long will be remembered, while many who do finish first will never be called great and will soon tumble into oblivion.

lt doesn’t much matter what you’ve got in your personal asset bank. Smart is overrated. Talent is overrated. Breeding, Ivy League education, sophistication, wit, eloquence, and good looks—they matter, but they’re all overrated. What really matters is what you do with what you’ve got. If you hold nothing back, if you take chances and give your all, if you serve the world well, then you will exult in what you’ve done and you will shine—in the eyes of the world, in the eyes of those who matter to you, and in your own eyes as well.

The more a manager can help the people who work for him or her to shine, the greater that manager will be, and the greater the organization as a whole. Put simply, the best managers bring out the best from their people. This is true of football coaches, orchestra conductors, big-company executives, and small-business owners. They are like alchemists who turn lead into gold. Put more accurately, they find and mine the gold that resides within everyone.

Managing in a way that brings out people’s best is a critical task, perhaps second in importance only to parenting in shaping the future of our world. More than any other quality, it takes heart to be such a manager.

– Edward Hallowell

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