The Lighthouse

“We must never cease from exploring. In the end, all of our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time.”

-T.S. Eliot

On a dark and stormy night, the captain of a ship at sea received a frantic wake-up call.

“Captain, captain, wake up.”

“What is it?”

“Sorry to wake you, sir, but we have a real problem.”

“What is it?”

“There’s a ship in our sea-line, several miles away, and they refuse to move.”

“Tell them to move.”

“We have, sir. They just won’t move.”

“I’ll tell them! Move starboard 20 degrees.”

The signal returned, “Move starboard yourself, 20 degrees.”

“I can’t believe this,” roared the captain. “Who is this joker? Does he know I’m the captain? Tell him who I am!”

The signal goes out, “This is Captain Horatio Hornblower, the 26th, commanding you to move starboard 20 degrees, at once.”

The signal returns, “This is seaman Carl Jones, the 3rd, commanding you to move starboard 20 degrees, at once.”

“I can’t believe this. What arrogance. We’re a battleship. We could blow them out of the water. Let him know who we are!”

“This is the mighty Missouri, flagship of the seventh fleet.”

The signal returned, “This is the lighthouse.”

I challenge you to constantly study your direction of travel in your personal life and in your career and check for alignment between where you’re going and your “true-north” principles. Apply this test to your personal life, yourinterpersonal relations, your managerial work, your leadership, and your organization. By doing this regularly, you will start to build a culture that aligns itself with principles and with a common vision and mission. Things will fall into place, and failure will not be something you will ever have to face.


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