We all make mistakes. When we learn from those mistakes, we are said to be wise. When we not only learn from those mistakes, but also then decide to use the experience to better the world, we become an inspiring example of what is possible. When we make serving others our primary goal, our view of the world shifts and new possibilities emerge.
I am excited to introduce Matt Tenney, who has written a terrific new book, Serve to Be Great. I’m always looking to learn from others, and here are a few lessons I learned from Matt’s powerful story:
1. You can create happiness anywhere.
Few people have experienced the depths of despair like Matt Tenney. His failure landed him in prison for years. And yet, in prison, Matt learned to be happier in a cell than he was when he was free.
2. Your greatest failure may be your life’s greatest catalyst for change.
As I spent time with Matt, I could see that his zest for life and appreciation for everything around him was somehow different. Undoubtedly this came from experiencing the loss of all that he knew.
3. When you change your self-talk, you change your world.
Reading Matt’s terrific new book, Serve to Be Great, I noticed that his self-talk changed throughout his story. As he planned a crime, he was justifying his actions. Now, his self-talk is all about how he can serve others.
4. Learn how to change selfishness to selflessness.
Matt is constantly asking himself this question: “How will this help me to serve others?” By focusing everything outward, it changes his motivation and the trajectory of his actions. Matt’s goal is to be the most kind, compassionate person he can be. Get around him and you will find that you, too, want to be more compassionate.
5. Service leads to greatness.
Leaders who lead with love are the ones we remember. Among the many examples Matt shares in his keynote speech is Joel Manby, who wrote Love Works. Joel is a CEO, featured on Undercover Boss, who leads with love. When leaders serve with love, the positive impact creates sustainable success.
6. Notice the extraordinary small moments.
Previously, Matt wrote a guest post for Leadership Insights about what he learned about leadership from Daniel. Daniel was a teenager dying from cancer, and yet he taught lessons that still make Matt emotional.
7. In stillness, you can change your state of mind, your present and your future.
Practicing mindfulness and awareness training, which he learned from monks, is important for leaders. Lowering stress, becoming focused, and increasing your compassion for others is all possible through the practices he shares in his book.
Last week, I spent some time with Matt. I had the opportunity to watch him keynote for industry executives. I watched him interact with people from all walks of life. And I learned from his story. I think you will enjoy Matt’s story and his book.
As I wrote in a blurb he included in the book: “Serve to Be Great is both inspiring and practical. Matt Tenney delivers a powerful narrative that takes you on an incredible journey. The insights from that journey and the examples he shares of truly great leaders will improve your performance, widen your perspective, and raise your leadership game.”
Because service does lead to greatness. And servant leadership is the best form of leadership there is.
Serve to Be Great: Leadership Lessons from a Prison, a Monastery, and a Boardroom