Ethical Leadership

Changing your Course of History

“Do as your heart tells you to do, and millions will die…”

-Dr. Spock to Captain Kirk, from the Star Trek Episode: “The City on the Edge of Forever.”

This quote, from one of television’s most famous episodes, refers to Kirk’s passion towards a woman he not only couldn’t have, but loving her would cause a shattering break in human history.

All fiction, including Science Fiction, has some element of truth in it, for otherwise it would be too fantastical for the reader to connect to it. Here, the truth behind Spock’s statement is self-evident.

We usually equate following your heart as a positive virtue, stemming from the idea that man must fulfill his inner longing, and thus be on the way to meeting his life purpose.

Yet here, if Kirk succumbed to his heart’s desires, he would destroy not only his life, but those of countless others.

Following one’s heart is a tricky thing-there are times when our heart does lead us to the right path, so how does one know to listen to one’s heart or not?

I might suggest a simple formula for deciding how to respond to your longing. Take the action you are contemplating, and fast forward 20 years- will this action make you proudand truly satisfied? Or will it fill you with pain and regret?

Ethical leaders understand that they have a transcendent role in leading their organizations: To always keep their focus on what’s best for their nonprofit- especially 20 years ahead, even when they may no longer be leading it.

As we enter 2017, how will you change your course of history- both for you and your organization?