We at the Center for Transformational Presence celebrate the life and leadership of Nelson Mandela, a true Transformational Presence. He was authentic, clear in his vision and leadership, and very human, not afraid of letting us see all he was – his strengths and accomplishments as well as his challenges and shortcomings.
Nelson Mandela and the black people of South Africa suffered unimaginable indignities and pain at the hands of the ruling class. Yet as a leader and a man who had been imprisoned for 27 years, his response was one of reconciliation and peace. He chose to forgive rather than hold onto the past. He fully acknowledged what had been, yet chose to give energy and attention to a future waiting to be created – a future where everyone could live freely with dignity and respect. His focus was always on creating forward – recognizing the greatest potential in service of all, and letting that potential lead the way. He lived and breathed the tenets of Transformational Presence.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., once wrote these words about the balance of power and love:
Personal power, properly understood, is nothing but the ability to achieve purpose. There is nothing wrong with power if used correctly. One of the great problems of history is that the concepts of love and power have usually been contrasted as opposites—polar opposites—so that love is identified with resignation of power, and power with denial of love. What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic.
Through his leadership, Nelson Mandela showed us how power can be tempered by love, and how love can be fully expressed through power. We have been blessed to live at a time when this great man walked among us. May his legacy continue to guide us as we take each next step to create a world that works.
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