Lessons from a wine cork

Leadership lessons from a wine cork

I must admit I do like my wine and I have the good fortune of living in close proximity to some great wineries. I not only enjoy the taste, but I also appreciate the aesthetic of the bottle, label and cork. So, the fact I was paying attention to the writing in the side of the cork is not surprising, but finding the cork to be a source of wisdom was unexpected.

While opening a nice bottle of old vine zin, I was greeted with three simple phrases; follow your passion; stay humble; work hard. These are words to aspire to and lead by.

Passion is the energy of purpose

Follow your passion: I feel there is confusion on the meaning of this phrase. We all tend to seek our passion outside of our current situation. We pursue change, the perfect job, the next big break and of course more money. Rather, we should find the passion in our current situation. Passion is the energy of purpose. In his book, Adam Braun writes, “purpose can manifest from so many different places, but it most often appears through the small things that enable us to feel connected to a broader whole.” Understanding your purpose is key to unlocking and following your passion. Passion is not extrinsic it is intrinsic. So often we grasp for or look externally for its source; it is right here in this moment.  Connect with it at work by doing the things that energize you.


Stay humble: Pride is the poison of progress. It narrows thought, excludes information and alienates others. Humility, empathy and presence are the antidote. Be mindful that we all want the same thing, to be heard, cared for, valued and respected. Know that everyone of us has flaws, warts and weaknesses. We are all interdependent, a staff of one accomplishes nothing, and success is a team pursuit. So don’t take yourself or your position too seriously. Don’t stand on a pedestal, stand amongst your team. Operate from authenticity not from your position on the organizational chart.


Work hard: Strive to get the best out of yourself and others not the most. Working hard is not about activity it is about results. Being busy is not a value unless the activity is aligned with the desired outcome. Ensure that you and those you lead have clarity around the company’s purpose, vision, values, path and desired outcomes. Further, working hard not only requires being focused on achieving organizational goals, profits and growth, but also necessitates an endeavor to move away from habits and to create an open, flexible mind. Take effort to be mindful and fully present. A quote loosely attributed to the historic Buddha states “your work is to discover your work and with all you heart give yourself to it.”


You never know where you will find wisdom. But to find it, you must be open to it. As you go forward, keep in mind the sage advice found on the side of a wine cork; follow your passion, stay humble and work hard!


At The Intertwine Group, we work to develop integrated leaders. Creating leaders who blend vision, clarity and focus with authenticity, empathy and presence. To learn more about this approach, please contact us and we can provide you with more information.


Thanks for reading.


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