When I think of Servant Leadership I think of my Mom making me a sandwich.
Seven years ago I was taking a walk with my Mom near her home in south Florida when I noticed she was getting tired. My mom and I always walked together. She was a fit, walking machine and never got tired so I knew something was wrong.
“Let’s go back to the condo so you can rest,” I said.
“No, I want to walk to the store so I can get some food to make you a sandwich for your drive home.”
I was headed back to my home in Ponte Vedra Beach and my mom thought I might starve to death without eating during the five hour drive. : )
“Ok,” I said knowing she had her mind set. Growing up in a Jewish-Italian family, the one thing you didn’t do is argue with mom about food. To her food and love were one and the same.
We continued walking, made it to the supermarket and as we walked back I could tell she was getting more and more tired. When we arrived back at her condo she was exhausted and yet the first thing she did was walk into the kitchen to make me a sandwich.
On my drive home I ate her sandwich but didn’t think much about it at the time. Now, seven years later, I think about that sandwich a lot because it was the last time I saw my mom alive.
My mom was battling cancer which was why she was so tired. She didn’t tell me how bad it really was nor did she mention how bleak the odds were for her survival. She was fighting for her life and yet on that day her biggest priority was to make me a sandwich.
Looking back I realize she wasn’t just making me a sandwich. She was showing me what selfless love and servant leadership are all about.
At her funeral many of her real estate clients and colleagues came up to me and shared countless stories of all the selfless acts of love my mom did for them as well. Turns out she served her team at work and her clients the same way she served her family.
We often think that great leadership is about big visions, big goals, big actions and big success. But I learned from my Mom that real leadership is about serving others by doing the little things with a big dose of selfless love.
This week I want to encourage you to lead others by serving them. The opportunities to serve are endless. Just do something that let’s someone know you care about them.
Who knows you might even make someone a sandwich!