Walk into government buildings and you’ll occasionally see official photos on the wall. Sometimes from the president. Or the governor. Sometimes even a local politician.
It is clear that the photo is intended to inspire. Encourage. To serve as a reminder of authority and leadership.
But if Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has his way, his portrait will never appear on an office wall.
His reasoning is simple. Make decisions with the people you care about in mind, and those decisions are likely to be good decisions. You act in a way that they will be proud of. You will respond in a way that they would approve. It is much more likely that you – in words and deeds – are the person you wish to be.
Because then your decisions will transcend smaller considerations such as selfishness or opportunism.
Like when the US government offered to evacuate Zelensky from Kiev. “The fight is here,” Zelensky replied. “I need ammunition, not an elevator.”
Like when the Kremlin offered justifications on the eve of their invasion. Instead of speaking like a politician, Zelensky responded like a person. “You’ve been told I’m going to bomb” [the region of] Donbass,’ he said. ‘Bomb what? The stadium where me and the local guys cheered for our team at Euro 2012? The bar where we drank when they lost? Luhansk, where does my best friend’s mother live?”
Admittedly, you’re unlikely to have a politician’s picture hanging on your wall. Or a photo of entrepreneurial icons such as Cuban, Buffett, Branson or Bezos. But maybe you have photos or images that are meant to inspire. The vacation you ever hope to make. The car you hope to buy one day. Images of outcomes intended to motivate and inspire.
Which, if that works for you, is great.
But consider putting or moving a photo of a person or people you love in a place you shouldn’t miss. On your desk. Next to your monitor. On the wall right in front of you.
Use that photo to support your decisions. Ask yourself if that person or persons would be proud of what you say. If they would be proud of what you do. If they would be proud of the kind of person you turn out to be from your actions.
Use that photo to remind you not of what you want, but of the person you want to be.
Do that and you will almost always make the right decision.
Because you will make it for the right reasons.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not Inc.com’s.
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