Excerpted from Mindfully Wise Leadership: The Secret of Today’s Leaders.
When I started writing my book, I wanted to interview a senior executive who leads a global company. Part of his agenda is connecting business and peacemaking. One morning when I was on my way to a meeting, I made a few phone calls, trying to get in contact with him.
When I arrived at the meeting, I told one of my colleagues about it. It turned out that a good friend of hers was his personal assistant. I talked to her and sent her material about me and the book I was writing. She told me that her boss was very busy and would try to get in contact within a few months. A few months later, he was still too busy to connect. This pattern repeated several times.
At one point, a friend who had served with me in the army told me he worked closely with this executive, and even gave me the number of his private phone.
I swallowed my pride and sent him a message. Again, the call went unanswered. I didn’t really care about his lack of cooperation personally, but I wanted to gain insight into his worldview so that I could write about it in a book and readers could be inspired by it. It just didn’t seem like it was meant to be.
During this time, I traveled to a conference in Hong Kong, where I met David Yeung, whom I mention in previous chapters of my book. I decided to interview him instead. I liked David, and I was grateful for his time and insight.
In the final stages of writing the book, a friend sent me a newspaper article that made me even more grateful. The article reported that the man I’d never had a chance to interview was being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission for providing insider information. Apparently, his focus on connecting business and peacemaking wasn’t enough to keep him from acting unethically.
When I read this, I immediately understood. There was probably a reason I couldn’t catch him.
This story is a great illustration of how to know when our grip on control should be released, and when we should turn to gratitude for the opportunities that we can make happen for ourselves. Our goal is to pay attention. The road is embedded with signs, and it’s our role to be mindful and observe what the right action truly is.
Having agreed at some point to loosen my attachment to control, I found my gratitude and found my way forward.