I am one among the legions of souls who watch Pope Francis show the world how to live - and how to lead. At once I am inspired and joyful at the presence this man of God exudes and struck by the contrast of my own shortcomings in both areas.
It is so easy to lose sight of how our moment-to-moment, let alone day-to-day, behavior can affect and influence those around us, especially if we are supposed to lead. I am a parent and a CEO, just two of the roles that come with assigned responsibility.
With the former, shared by so many of us, comes the privilege of bringing in and guiding the future generation. Just loving those little people, who then become today's parents, is not enough. I know I loved my children, still love them, but I am painfully aware of my shortcomings as a mother.
Because I am still learning, I hope I can acquit myself well going forward. Some of my improvement can come from seeing what they do well. Much more from seeing what this Holy Father models for us to emulate.
Conan O'Brien said on the day the Pope landed in America, "Of course, as a Catholic, I knew the moment he was here because I felt a disturbance in the guilt." While his quip brought a laugh from his audience, the reality is that we can feel our shortcomings when in the presence of goodness. We are at once inspired and repentant.
Then there is the responsibility that is so needed from CEOs. It is daunting. If we supervise one person, it comes with an awesome expectation to do right by them. If we have a dozen or more, it can feel almost overwhelming when we consider our score card. We can't allow ourselves to compare our behavior with that of a CEO who knowingly allowed poisoned peanut butter to ship out to stores. Yes, it feels good to recognize we are not murderers. We need instead, however, to measure ourselves next to Pope Francis.
Set our sites to the highest measurement and we will never lack for inspiration or pause to rest on any laurels.
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 38 years.
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