Above the Line: Living and Leading with Heart

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Explore the ways character development delivers competitive advantage

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Resilience & Self-Respect

In 1961 Joan Didion, an American journalist, wrote this in Vogue: “In brief, people with self-respect exhibit a certain toughness, a kind of moral nerve; they display what was once called character… the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life…”

Stoic Wisdom

This advice comes from Marcus Aurelius (121-180), a Roman emperor, general and scholar. Marcus Aurelius’s writings – his Meditations - are part of the canon of Stoic thinking (including those of the Roman playwright Seneca and the former slave Epictetus).


Andrew St. George – Heartstyles Accredited Associate

Intention Impression Impact

We all know about the phenomenon law of unintended consequences in many parts of political and commercial life.  A policy or strategy is intended to achieve one end, but produces quite another.  This is at work in our personal lives too.  We can have the best intentions, but then can make an awful impression, and can have a poor impact.


Andrew St. George – Heartstyles Accredited Associate

Think about the future

Let’s think about the future. It’s the one thing we all have in common; yet it will be different for each of us; and clearly life is lived forwards and understood backwards; and we have to learn from the past in order to design the future.

Starting well

I love all beginnings, despite their anxiousness and their uncertainty, which belong to every commencement.

So wrote the Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926). The beginnings of any project, journey, enterprise or change are beset with exactly those worries that Rilke identifies. 

What Do We Do Next?

Everywhere we put ourselves in dangerous situations there are leadership lessons to be learned. Mountaineering and military operations are some of the best places to find a combination of experience and reflection.


Andrew St. George – Heartstyles Accredited Associate

Creating an understanding of great leadership

How well does your organization understand leadership at all levels?

Ask this question, and a bigger picture invariably emerges. Here, the human factors come to the fore.  The Anna Karenina test can be applied: all organizations are happy in the same way; but all unhappy organizations are unhappy in their own way.

Shared values

The American novelist Henry James may seem a strange place to start in thinking about values and behaviors in leadership.  He came up with a wonderful insight in an essay on language: All life comes back to the question of our speech, to the question of our relations with each other.  In other words, how we relate to each other at any time or place is intimate with how we speak to (and hear) each other.

Taking things seriously

Taking things seriously is no more than according things their true weight and seeing their innate value.  It springs from a desire to weigh things on the scale of the heart rather than indulging in suspicion and distrust.

To lead is to listen

All leadership has a context, whether you are running a campaign, running a meeting, or running a project.  And all leadership is concerned with effecting change by completing a specific task.  How do you relate the two? What is it that you must do?