3 Lessons From the Vatican: Know When to Hang Up the Mitre

By Walt Laskos

This week, the world will witness an event that has not occurred since the year 1415—a Pope stepping down from the Papacy.

Although we all watched his predecessor grow more frail and disabled during the final years of his papacy, Benedict XVI has decided to spare the world audience the repeat performance of witnessing the same debilitation take hold of him during his reign. He has chosen to abdicate the Papal Office on the grounds that he is becoming unable to measure up to its many responsibilities.

Of course, while some may disagree, reigning as Pope is like night and day in comparison to serving as a credit union executive, volunteer or CEO. Nevertheless, we ought to ask ourselves if there is a lesson we can all learn from Pope Benedict, a man to whom the keys of St. Peter have been entrusted. Can one find in this historic gesture a particularly meaningful take-away.

As I avidly read the news surrounding Benedict’s upcoming abdication and follow the stirrings underway in preparation for a Papal Conclave tasked with electing his successor, I see three lessons of value for all of us who hold a position of influence and leadership.

1) Know your limitations
– Be cognizant of the demands required by the office you hold and be honest with yourself about your personal capabilities in meeting them. 

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