Tag Archives: Kevin Lowry

Humility – antidote to “leadership kryptonite”

Superman has long been famous for his nearindestructible nature — superstrength, super-speed, X-ray vision, and a long list of other impressive attributes. As for weaknesses, well, there’s only one. Kryptonite.

Kevin Lowry

Although business leaders may not match Superman’s fictitious ability to leap over buildings in a single bound or stop a runaway locomotive, they have their own long lists of real-time attributes. They’re successful, smart, determined visionaries. They can rally others around common goals. They persevere when most give up.

But they can also have a weakness commensurate to kryptonite. Pride.

Think of Adam and Eve in the book of Genesis. Eve falls for the serpent’s ploy, and makes a prideful, egotistical choice, which she convinces Adam to follow. Voila, original sin for the ages.

Think of some of the highestprofile business failures of recent years. Enron comes to mind — an enormous company brought down by an extraordinary confluence of circumstances revolving around a series of regrettable, egotistical decisions. I read an interesting analysis recently by George Weigel, who makes the case that the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign was its own undoing, because loyalty was its highest value. Criticism (even of the healthy, constructive type) of the candidate was not tolerated. Could this have been due to pride? What would have been the antidote? Humility.

Jesus Christ Himself was the ultimate example of humility: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.” (Matthew 11:29) We may equate meekness and humility with weakness, but it’s not so. Rather, the humility of Christ sprung from His complete submission to God the Father. This ought to be our goal as well.

Think for a moment of Lucifer. The father of lies began as a fallen angel who refused to serve. Lucifer’s “non-serviam” has resounded throughout history. His lies cause us to draw inward, to prioritize ourselves, to neglect or refuse service to God and others.

So how does this play out in our lives today?

As Legates, we are Catholic business leaders, not simply business leaders who are Catholic. Being Catholic should make a difference in how we lead.

In my first book, Faith at Work: Finding Purpose Beyond the Paycheck, I recount one of my early career failures that helped me discover humility. I was working with a CPA firm, and audited the books of a company with a controller who was a “pompous, arrogant, foul-mouthed, rude, sexist, sanctimonious jerk.” No, he didn’t like me either.

At the culmination of my job, my boss gave me the flesh-shredding evaluation of a lifetime.

While in my mind, the entire episode had somehow become all about me, his evaluation helped me regain perspective by ingesting a large helping of fraternal correction, businessstyle. It was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

Although it has taken years, my awareness of humility in the workplace has sharpened.

Humility helps us to keep priorities straight, focus on serving God and others, and avoid selfabsorption. We’re all smart in different ways, and humility helps us to appreciate the gifts of others – and acknowledge them with sincerity.

Humble people make better teammates – when we’re humble we play off each other’s strengths rather than exploit others’ weaknesses. Humble leadership perpetuates a humble culture, and helps any organization be more effective. Humble leaders are open to correction – and therefore less susceptible to self-inflicted scandal and poor decision-making.

Humility not only helps us to imitate Christ in our vocation as business leaders, it helps us sanctify our work and fulfill our shared Legatus mission.

Pride is leadership kryptonite, but our Lord has shown us the most effective antidote: humility.

KEVIN LOWRY is an executive at RevLocal, a rapidly growing digital marketing company, and member of the Columbus Legatus chapter. His latest book is How God Hauled Me Kicking and Screaming Into the Catholic Church (Our Sunday Visitor). His website is gratefulconvert.com

Kicking and Screaming

Kevin Lowry
Our Sunday Visitor, 2016
160 pages, paperback $15.95

This book’s full title is a mouthful: How God Hauled Me Kicking and Screaming Into the Catholic Church. However, you’d expect nothing less from Lowry, a member of Legatus’ Columbus Chapter.

The former preacher’s kid at a Catholic university recalls settling into a double major in beer and billiards, followed by uncomfortable run-ins with pious students and failing grades. After getting his act together, he got the MBA, and also got the girl. Meanwhile, God was drawing him to the inevitable conclusion that Catholicism was true despite his objections. Lowry’s journey to Catholicism is fascinating, often funny, and demonstrates God’s unfailing love for us all.

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Our Sunday Visitor

Does Legatus make a difference?

Kevin Lowry

Kevin Lowry

At a recent Legatus event, I was praying before Mass when my friend Mike walked in and sat down beside me. We smiled at one another and shook hands.

Our speaker that evening was Sr. Briege McKenna. During Mass, I was struck with a vivid sense of gratitude — here I was, participating in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in the midst of some of the most extraordinary people I know.

That got me thinking. What is it that makes Legatus special? Why is it that membership in this organization has become one of the greatest privileges of my life? The dinner is good, for sure. The speakers are inspiring. But there is something extraordinary about Legatus — and in my humble view, it’s the people.

Yes, the primary way Legatus has touched my life is through other members. To say that I’m grateful for their friendship would be a gross understatement. The mutual encouragement, prayers and support of other Legates are pearls beyond price.

Who do I call when I want to buy a car? Mike, a Legatus member. Who is my spiritual director? Andy, a deacon and Legate. Who do I approach to talk through thorny moral or ethical business issues? Father Thomas, our chaplain.

It goes even deeper. Who helped my wife and me when we went through one of the most difficult challenges of our lives (a teenager with a drug problem)? Mary Ann, a Legatus member. Our son is alive and well today thanks to a terrific program called Cenacolo. Mary Ann’s brother happens to be the bishop who brought the program to the U.S. The word thankful just doesn’t cover it.

When I decided several years ago to move out of the corporate world and into a small Catholic apostolate — The Coming Home Network with Marcus Grodi — many Legatus members supported the decision. When I wrote my first book, a labor of love entitled Faith at Work: Finding Purpose Beyond the Paycheck, I aimed it straight at the Legatus mission out of sheer gratitude (and I got great advice and stories from my fellow Legates).

The book opened up opportunities to speak at numerous Legatus chapters, and I discovered the most amazing thing: Meeting Legates from across the country is like meeting longtime friends. I often reflect on this, and I think it results from the presence of Christ within them. We share a familial bond even if we’ve never met.

Legatus magazine is a wonderful means of encouragement as we are introduced to members’ activities and accomplishments. Legatus members are moving the needle in our culture! I think of my friends Tom

Peterson of Catholics Come Home, Michael Warsaw of EWTN, Teresa Tomeo of Ave Maria Radio, not to mention our founder Tom Monaghan.

In the end, our Legatus relationships help shape who were are. I recently attended the funeral of one of our members. Alan was chapter president the year before me. He was a kind-hearted, gentle soul, deeply committed to his faith, his wife, and his family. Looking around at the funeral, I saw most of our chapter members — praying for his soul, praying for his family, and celebrating a life well lived. As I sat there in the Church, remembering his kindness and wonderful example, my eyes welled up, and I sent a prayer heavenward:

Lord, please have mercy on the soul of our departed brother, along with all of us who were privileged to count him as a friend. Bless all Legatus members, and allow our experience of sharing life together — and living the Legatus mission — to truly make a difference in all our lives and those of others everywhere. Amen.

These relationships are an important part of our past, present and future. When my work at The Coming Home Network was complete, I returned to the for-profit world at the invitation of yet another Legatus member, Marc. I currently serve with him in a dynamic, rapidly growing digital marketing business suffused with values consistent with our faith.

I’m also working on my second book, about the need for ongoing conversion — the continuous process of allowing the faith to permeate every aspect of our lives. It’s on this score that the Legatus experience is decisive. Living the mission of the organization — to learn, live and spread the Catholic faith — provides us with the tools (more like the rocket fuel) to live a truly Christian life. In a very real sense, our Legatus experience helps us become saints.

Let’s redouble our efforts today to live the Legatus mission — and to invite others to join us in the experience. Our membership in this great organization does make a difference: in our spiritual journeys, in our families, and in our world.

KEVIN LOWRY is a member of Legatus’ Columbus Chapter and author of “Faith at Work: Finding Purpose Beyond the Paycheck.”

Faith at Work

Legate Kevin Lowry prayerfully helps readers find purpose beyond the paycheck . . .

Faith at Work
Our Sunday Visitor, 2011
176 pages, $14.95 paperback

With his subtitle Finding Purpose Beyond the Paycheck, Lowry presents practical solutions to real-life scenarios. Each of the book’s 13 chapters provides practical steps for putting the chapter theme into action and questions for reflection so readers can do a bit of self-assessment.

A member of Legatus’ Columbus Chapter, Lowry writes from experience: True purpose is realized when people use their abilities consistent with their calling and trust in God to help achieve His purpose through them.

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