Story 4

A word I’ve been searching for all my life

Hi, I’m Jim, the human behind this issue of Upstairs. I’m an advocate for purposeful business, strategy and innovation, with a career spanning 30 years helping organisations develop strategy and shaping change across organisational culture and leadership teams.


We are travelling through a time in our lives when everyone is asking big questions. Questions such as “what’s next?” and “what should we do?”.

Questions such as “who am I?” and “what is my work?”

A time when we are holding our leadership accountable more than ever as we realise that humility, compassion and empathy are sorely needed and sorely missed—in our work, our communities and in the simple act of trying to keep the economy afloat at a time when some industries are on their knees, whilst others thrive.

As we see good leaders shine bright, whilst others shine for nothing more than themselves. Our streams speaking more and more clichés—video-interview-after-video-interview—and still leaving us searching for something profound. Something to move the needle, to move us forward into a new way, a better way and a higher level of potential.

A word that has played in the background of my life, in the aeons of my own ancient culture and in the lives of every Greek person I’ve come to know, is Philótimo (Φιλότιμο).

A word that cannot be translated yet whose meaning transcends borders and whose definition remains relevant today, as it was thousands of years ago. A word with meaning, which every leader must know intimately.

To open your home, and your heart to someone.

To open your mind to what’s possible.

To open your arms in welcome.

To be dutiful, and honourable and to make the most personal of sacrifices without expectation of anything in return.

To follow those who deem you a leader.

To write your own name down, before condemning them.

To lead with compassion and empathy.

To have an ambition that is noble and aspire to something greater than yourself—and be accountable to it. Pursuing it, knowing it is unachievable, but something worthy.

To live a good life and a truly fulfilling life surrounded by people that expand you, challenge you, and are true to you.

A kind life.

A word to be remembered by.

Philótimo.

It’s a word I’ve been searching for all my life—a pursuit passed down through generations in my family and in the families of others.

An ancient word of the highest virtue.

A single word to reflect on.

A word that holds us accountable to treat one another kindly and above all, to honour one another.

A word that will see the best of us through the journey of our careers, and the rollercoaster of our lives as it has done so for centuries.

A single word to reflect upon today—to force us to have a discussion about being good people, living good lives and doing good for one another and the world we live in.

Cheers,
Jim Antonopoulos

Contributors of this story: Jim Antonopoulos wrote this gem, Oana Filip edited it, Andrei Ungurianu put it all together, George Olaru designed it, Răzvan Onofrei was in charge with the development.

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