Yet in retrospect, the senior sage leaders realize that earlier events and people led to their current life position and served as incentives and even guideposts for the kind of Theory S leadership they are now providing—and for the kind of community services in which they are now engaged. The event or interpersonal relationship is now reframed as an opportunity to learn, and they are more fully able to appreciate and honor this learning and move forward without being stuck in either regret or anger about the past event or relationship. In some instances, it was faith that carried future senior sages through hard times and supported new personal insights. In others it was gaining an appreciation of internal strength and resolve that carried them through challenging times and toward new insights about themselves. These senior sage leaders all now seem to “know themselves,” and this may be one of the key attributes and sources of wisdom that successful sages manifest. As one senior sage observed, “Peak and trough experiences may be just opposite sides of the same coin, and wisdom may come from the recognition that this ultimately is the same coin.”
1. William James, Varieties of Religious Experiences, 1900.