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Finding Vitality

Jim Collins, author of, “Good to Great,” wrote the foreword to Frances Hesselbein’s  autobiography, “My Life in Leadership: The Journey and Lessons Learned Along the Way.”

From the foreword of, “My Life in Leadership”

During one of our long conversations, I (Jim Collins) asked Frances how she endured the burdens of leadership and sustained her energy.

“Burden?” She looked puzzled.  “Burden? Oh no, leadership is never a burden; it is a privilege.”

Jim went on. “But how do you sustain the energy for leadership? We all have limits, but I’ve never seen you reach yours.”

“Everything I have been called to do gives me energy. The greater the call, the greater the energy; it comes from outside me.”


During my own conversation with Frances, she confirmed what Jim Collins wrote. Frances Hesselbein has always been a high energy person with a strong sense of calling.

Personal calling

People with a calling don’t work for a living. Calling suggests purpose and meaning. Job suggests obligation and paychecks. I believe living to earn a paycheck ruins people. On the other hand, a calling refreshes and energizes.

Can you define your life today in terms of calling rather than job? If you can, you’ve found vitality. If you can’t, it’s another day at work.

Calling others

One of the great privileges of leadership is helping others find their own calling. I’ve been present when the fire of calling ignites a person. Yesterday I saw the white heat of calling ignite a local business person when she uncovered her prime motivation in life. All you can do is get out of the way and watch the blaze.

The greatest opportunity of leadership may be helping others find vitality by embracing their calling.


How can leaders find their own calling?

How can leaders help others find their calling?

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