Home Concepts Adult Development Peak Life Experiences: The Beginning of Senior Sage Leadership

Peak Life Experiences: The Beginning of Senior Sage Leadership

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Several senior sage leaders point to the profound effect that getting fired had on their outlook, while one was transformed by the power of her boss saying how smart she was and how she would be very successful in banking—which turned out to be true. Another senior sage reflects on the personal risks it took to start a new bank, and a second ponders on having formed a start-up company that resulted in 200 employees and $10 million in sales. And, then, there is the story of how life-altering the United States Marine Corps has been for a home town senior sage leader:

I applied for Marines Officer Candidate School after graduating from Stanford but my  application was denied because “they had better qualified candidates.” I then enlisted in the Marines and reported to basic training with the idea of staying in for just two years. That denial of my OCS application was a humbling experience, but six months later I was sent to the next OCS class. I had a company commander who said he wanted me to apply to OCS, but I told him I had already been turned down. He insisted that I try again and I got accepted. Years later, after being informed by the Commandant of the Marine Corp that I was being promoted to Major General, my wife hugged me and said, “Don’t forget that you still have to take out the garbage.”

International experiences

A small number of senior sage leaders, like many of the emerging sage leaders, reflect on the important role that international experiences have played in shaping their lives. One was deeply moved by going through “Check Point Charley” in East Germany during the Cold War, another by going around the world with her husband on a sail boat for a year. Yet a third had a mother take her to Thailand and Hong Kong, which gave her a life-long bug to travel and expanded her understanding of different cultures and compassion for others. And there is the senior sage leader who went to Laos as a civilian and experienced the Viet Nam War from the other side, causing him to return to the US to see if he could live in a country he didn’t respect any more.

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