Today I travel to Pristina, Kosovo to attend a conference, meet new friends and learn as much I can about this beautiful, resilient and constantly evolving nation. The conference is called the International Leadership Conference. Throughout the next several days, people from around the globe will gather to share, learn and foster accountability around integrity-filled leadership. During this time I will be exploring what service leadership means to the participants and will share those insights here with you. I am honored to have the opportunity to glean wisdom from others and create a space for dialogue in which we can all grow in the process.
Travel days for me are days for reflection. Travel presents many unique opportunities—for observation, for quiet, for practicing patience and consideration. I’m often amazed observing how travel causes stress and uncertainty that can lead to quick tempers and boorish behaviors. However, today I was struck by compassion and empathy. Flying to Frankfurt, an elderly couple sat a row ahead and across the isle from me. The husband required a wheelchair and the wife, with pure care and love, gently tended to him the entire flight. Upon landing, two complete strangers eagerly volunteered to assist with their bags and help them towards the exit and down the stairs to the bus to the terminal. All too often, we rush past those who may need an extra hand, concerned about connecting flights, or that pressing email, or getting through customs. I know I can get airport tunnel vision and today was reminded that service can be exhibited especially in the spaces I overlook. The seemingly small act of kindness nearly brought the wife to tears. Service can be as simple as noticing those around us and extended a hand.
"The fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, and the fruit of service is peace." –Mother Theresa
This quote from Mother Theresa strikes me as particularly relevant today and in preparation for the week ahead. I wonder if small acts of kindness, of service are actually deep acts of faith and love that can lead to healing and towards peace. And if peace is built with bricks of kindness, can’t we all actively build a sustainable peace?