“When we first came to the Spanish Riding School three years ago, you said we’d be expected to give the best that was in us, that you would settle for no less. And as time passed, we saw that you meant it. It was difficult because I don’t think any of us knew what the best in us was or even where to look for it but you kept demanding until you made us find it. And for that we thank you because we can take it with us now wherever we go. Prost!” – a toast given by one of Colonel Alois Podhajsky’s riders in The Miracle of the White Stallion
To my mind one of the greatest privileges we have in life is the opportunity to help others actuality the greatness resident in them. I say resident in them because I have discovered over time that greatness is not manufactured externally, pasted on or appended to the individual like a new title or degree. The challenge is to find a way to draw it out, to inspire its expression, a task that is much easier said than done.
The seeds of greatness are ever-present in each and every human being on earth. These seeds must be tended to, watered and exposed to the warming rays of the sun, while the weeds in the garden of the individual must be carefully removed to prevent them from choking out the new and delicate shoots of greatness. A steady diet of love and respect goes a long way to germinating these new seeds, but you must invest trust in those whom you serve. In a sense, you have to trust them more than they trust themselves.
I’ve learned over time that some people will thank you for the leadership, guidance and support you’re given them, while others will turn and rend you once they’ve gotten what they thought they could get from you. I’ve also discovered that to remain a leader, to maintain your integrity in living, you must not let your heart be overly troubled by those who abandon you. Likewise, you mustn’t let your heart be overjoyed by those who appreciate you. There is a golden mean betwixt the two extremes which allows you to provide for and bless those within your sphere of influence steadily, consistently and fully.
Once you’ve “received” such a blessing from another, you can take it wherever you go, for that which was “given” was present in you all along.