The Power of Finding What You’re NOT Looking For


To those around him, he looked pretty happy. He seemed to have success, and many of those he knew were envious of his material possessions and status. But inside, he had secretly known for a long time that he was living an unfulfilled and in many ways purposeless life, and so on what would be both the scariest and most wonderful day of his life, he walked away from it in every sense of the words. He began a heroic leadership journey that too few have the courage to take.

The man began a journey that would take him away from home for many years. Also, he didn’t know what he wanted from this journey, nor did he really even know where it would take him. He just knew with every fiber of his being was that what he had been pursuing had left him empty.

He was certain that the things he had been doing were bringing him very little joy, very little happiness, and even less satisfaction—and so began his journey.

This man travelled many strange and unchartered places, not only in the physical world but also in the inner sanctums of his heart and mind. He had come to know this great emptiness as the hole in his soul. His only goal in starting the journey was to fill that emptiness, in a way he’d never done before; from within, and in his travels he managed to do so. However, it wasn’t permanent, and after a long time, while he felt he had made progress, he found that this emptiness would creep back in to haunt him. Non-the-less, he sensed that he’d gained some knowledge, some insight, something that he couldn’t quite put his finger on, and with it the emptiness had started to fade away.

It wasn’t that the emptiness had been totally irradiated and could never came back. It would in fact return periodically, and strangely, when it did, he welcomed it, because he knew that the emptiness’ presence was a call for him to travel ever deeper on his quest.

Every step on his journey gave him a greater understanding of himself…


allowing him to see a little more of what he had been blind to for so long. And so he learned to embrace the emptiness, because it motivated him to continue.

Many years had passed and in time, until one day he found himself at the feet of a great master. This teacher saw him in ways that nobody else did, and saw something in his eyes that no one else had ever seemed to see. The master could not only see the man on the journey, but also the man within the journey, and he did this in ways the man had not even known himself.

The master invited the traveler to sit with him and barely breathing and with great reverence he did so. Their eyes met and the master enquired as to how long the man had been travelling, where he had gone and who had been his guides. The traveler took his time to answer the questions, certain that each question had buried within it some gem that would pierce through confusion the way a lighthouse guides a lost ship to safety. 

Then suddenly without warning the master asked the traveler one other question, a question that shook the traveler to his foundation.

The eyes of the master held the traveler transfixed and with perfect calm the master spoke, “You have traveled to many lands, over a long period of time and you have learned many things over the course of your long journey” He took a long pause as if to allow the traveler to recognize the length and intensity of his own journey.

The master continued; “if you could go back in time and meet yourself on the day you were about to embark on this epic journey – what question would you ask yourself that would be most beneficial to you on the day you started your journey? What one question would you ask that younger version of yourself that would speed up your journey?”

The traveler was stunned by the question. For a moment his mind went blank, lost in the confusion of thinking he knew what was coming. You see, what he really expected the master to ask was what advice he would give to himself as a younger man about to embark on a journey. He was already formulating an answer when he realized that no, it was not advice he was to impart. The master wanted him to form a question he would ask his younger self.

With gratitude,

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One of Inc. Magazine’s Top 100 Leadership Speakers to hire, Dov Baron is a leadership advisor to the United Nations (UN), a bestselling author, the world’s only Corporate Cultural Momentum Strategist, and a top-ranking podcast host. He is also the leading authority on Authentic Leadership, and Leadership Succession or, as he prefers to call it, “Full Monty Leadership.” Try his Authentic Leadership Matrix for free: