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Ethical Leaders Encourage Growing Pains

The Ethical Lexicon #3: A three-step process for leaders to use balanced pressure to achieve team success.

Do you want to live a stress-free life?

Of course, you do. We all do. Don’t we?

But should we? Perhaps not, when you consider how some stress produces resilience, resolve, and determination. And if that’s not enough, stress also creates astonishing beauty.

Have you ever marveled at the patterns in wood grain, the swirling, rippling ridges that add texture, color, and dimension? The more you polish the wood, the more these dramatic highlights jump out at you, adding life and luster that teases and tantalizes the eye.

What causes these visually intriguing undulations? Stress.

As a tree matures, the weight of its growing limbs puts the supporting wood tissue under pressure. And it is that pressure that generates the beautiful markings prized by woodworkers and furniture makers.

No pressure, no stress. No stress, no beauty.

As Kelly McGonigal explains in her wildly popular TED Talk, properly channeled stress can be the best thing in the world for us.

Of course, the wrong kind of stress is harmful and toxic. But when we embrace the tension that comes from reaching outside our comfort zone, taking on responsibility, committing ourselves to a higher purpose, especially as part of a worthy community--then we give ourselves the opportunity to develop hidden talents, refine our natural gifts, and realize our true potential.

Please click to read the full column in Fast Company.

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