The Practical Wisdom of Lived Experience – A Master Class

Crafting a Philosophy of Leadership in Life

This 2-day Master Class guides leaders to reflect deeply on their own lived experiences and explore the virtue ethics that are most important to them as informed by these experiences.

 The Chinese Philosopher Confucius said that by three methods we may learn wisdom: First by reflection which is the noblest; second is by imitation which is the easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest. For most of us, the reality is that wisdom arises from our life experiences accompanied by our ability to reflect upon them to find value, purpose, and meaning. In this context, even the most difficult and bitter experiences have value embedded within them. Thus, at the heart of wisdom is “knowing how to live well”.

From our lived experiences we develop the ability for deep insight, understanding, and expertise about certain matters. We are accessible to others and can offer wise counsel to those who may seek our guidance. We can navigate the ambiguities, complexities, and uncertainties of life with astute judgment. We have a deep understanding of who we are and what we stand for. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we think, speak, and act virtuously for the greater benefit of others whilst remaining true to our higher self.

About this Master Class

Recent international research found that over 96% of senior political, operational, and administrative leaders across Australia, New Zealand and the United States believed that their lived experiences and the insights gained from them were fundamental to their leadership effectiveness and success in life. This 2-day Master Class guides leaders to reflect deeply on their own lived experiences, explore the virtue ethics that are most important to them as informed by these experiences, and describe the eight most important and valuable aspects of their “world”. From here, leaders are guided to answer key questions that result in the crafting of a Philosophy of Leadership in Life.

The benefits for the leader include:

  • A deep appreciation of how lived experiences shape a leader’s ethical “worldview
  • A greater understanding of what, as leaders, they are prepared to “take a stand for”
  • A deep appreciation of their capacity to make a profound difference to the lives of others
  • Greater emotional and psychological resilience
  • Improved ability to reflect and learn from all lived experiences

The benefits for the organisation include:

  • Increased competence to contextualise/solve problems within/beyond the workplace
  • Better internal and external stakeholder relationships
  • Improved organisational culture
  • Lower turnover of staff and employees
  • Topics discussed include:
  • Greater integrity and proficiency in leading and managing people through ambiguity, complexity, and uncertainty and achieve mutually beneficial and successful outcomes
  • Improved internal and external stakeholder relationships
  • More attentive organisational culture focused on well-being of people and delivery of strategic outcomes
  • Reduced recruitment and retention costs


“These were great sessions and thought provoking in terms of how to apply virtues to your own work and reflect on the approach taken to complex decision making in high-pressure situations. The vignettes from Mark were particularly interesting – really hammered home his points on making the ‘right’ decision, even when against the grain.”

“I will take a renewed focus on the fact that our job is ultimately to make peoples’ lives better back to my work. I also appreciated Mark sharing his personal experiences as a senior leader.”

Amazing how much Mark opened up about his experience at the front line of emergency response and the impact that had on him – both negative, as well as profoundly positive in shaping his approach to leadership. Very thought provoking.”

Master Class Enquiry

  • Please confirm which Master Classes you are interested in knowing more about. It would also be helpful to know how many people you are interested in having attend the Master Class.
  • Please provide some information about yourself, your role and the type of organisation you work for.