leadership incorporated blog

March 8, 2010

Inspired to Succeed: Lead Like Mary

This past Saturday, I had the sad privilege of sharing in the incredible life-affirming memorial service for my extraordinary friend, Mary Herczog. I learned more about how to live—and how to die—from this woman than I’ve learned cumulatively from just about everyone else in my life.

There were hundreds of us there, dressed dutifully in black and carrying umbrellas and handkerchiefs at Mary’s specific request. You see, Mary had scripted one last incredible experience for us to revel in with her, to feel something new, to grow from, to be transformed by. From wherever she is now, she managed to transport us, at least spiritually, to her beloved New Orleans, complete with Dixieland Jazz band and second line parade. There we all were, dancing in the street in the rain, pumping umbrellas in the air, and waving Mary on.

You can probably tell that Mary was a natural leader.

She got the people in her world to go places they’d never been, to experience things they would never have tried, to feel things they’d never felt, to taste things they’d never tasted. She brought people together. And inspired them to be more than they’d been. Inspired them to live more than they were living. We would have followed her anywhere and been better for it.

And what I kept hearing in every conversation I took part in, as well as more than a few I eavesdropped on, were people—powerful, interesting, intelligent, amazing people— wishing they had what Mary had. Hoping they can become more like Mary. We are still following Mary.

What if more of us were like Mary?

What if our leaders were more like Mary?

What if we could bring this kind of leadership into American business? How much more might we enjoy what we do? How much more successful might we be? How much more good might we create?

I am committed to being that kind of leader. If you are too, here are 13 things we can learn about leadership from the life of Mary Susan Herczog:

1.    See the best in people

2.    Encourage them to see the best in themselves

3.    Speak your truth with kindness

4.    Find the humor and share it

5.    Always choose the option that will give you the best story

6.    Under pressure, choose grace

7.    Bring people together

8.    Celebrate the wins

9.    Keep showing up

10.  Savor every moment

11.  Bring all of yourself to everything you do

12.  Live (and work) in the details

13.  Don’t be afraid to try it, you can always spit it out


1 Comment »

  1. Sharon — what an inspiring post. Great advice and leadership tips. Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Sylvia Goodeve — March 9, 2010 @ 2:24 pm | Reply

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