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Creating Successful Leaders

The holiday season is a time of year that can highlight friendships and kinship. It’s a time to give thanks, reflect on the year, and think about the road ahead. It’s a time to rekindle bonds and enjoy each other’s company. Even if the holidays aren’t perfect (arguments happen, stress doesn’t magically disappear), they can be a reminder of the potential good in the world—a reminder that we can sit at the same table with a variety of people and hold a civil conversation.

Too often, we look for differences. We divide ourselves into groups and see some people as “outsiders.” We declare that we could never be friends with someone who believes X or supports Y. This way of thinking is pervasive these days, with the country deeply divided on matters of politics, human rights, and beliefs. It almost seems unreconcilable.

But what if we decided to search for common bonds, instead of the aspects that divide us?

What if we sought connections, instead of looking for excuses to dismiss someone outright?

I have found that I can hold a conversation with just about anyone, if I simply look for common connections. Everyone has something (or multiple somethings) they care about—their family, their dog, gardening, playing golf, traveling, their career. Maybe you share some of those interests, too. Or maybe you’re interested in learning more about them. Even if you don’t see eye to eye on everything, I’m certain you can still find some common link (even if it’s as simple as enjoying pizza or reality TV!).

I’m not advocating for leaving your strongly held beliefs behind. Of course not. And sometimes differences are so vast that it can be difficult to interact with certain people. But what I am saying is that, in my experience, most human beings do not want to do each other harm. Most of us simply want to make a decent living, enjoy our time with family and friends, and live and let live.

So, this holiday season, let us do our best to build bridges instead of walls. Let’s reach out to others, make connections, and attempt to see the humanity in all. And once the holidays draw to a close, why not keep up this bridge-building mentality? Why not keep the spirit of unity alive throughout the rest of the year? The world would likely be a better place if we did.

Happy holidays.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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