The 12th Step

In Touch - Newsletter - #19

Welcome to the nineteenth edition of "In Touch." As always, I would love to continue the conversation so please hit "reply" and let me know what you think.

Story of the Week: The 12th Step

Two weeks ago, I was invited by Prime Insurance to address their team of advisors. My address focused on teamwork and I chose to end it by referring to the 12th step of the well-known Alcoholics Anonymous programme, which is considered as crucial to full recovery. After a spiritual awakening as a result of the previous 11 steps, the 12th and final step is “to carry this message to others”, in other words to help another alcoholic. More generally, it is all about offering service to another fellow human being, so I was not suggesting that anyone in my audience was an alcoholic! Taking the 12th step can apply to all of us is every facet of our lives. Let me give you two vivid examples of how friends of mine have successfully applied the 12th step philosophy. 


Lahat Tzvi is the father of three daughters. How does he apply the 12th step? By investing in uninterrupted time with his children. Every few weeks, he pairs up with one of his daughters and they spend the whole day together. He turns all of his devices off and concentrates on his child, as if she is the only person on Earth. His daughter can choose where to go and eat, in which area or town they will spend their day together and she is even allowed to receive – within reason! – a gift of her own choosing. The conversations that Lahat has with his daughters don’t only shape them but also reveal their evolving personalities to him. His 12th step is helping them mature but it is also helping Lahat improve as a father.


Stavros Ioannou, Managing Partner at Grant Thornton, is someone around whom his colleagues feel very comfortable, his friends speak highly of him and his competitors respect him. Stavros constantly and consistently applies the 12th step. On one occasion, when an ‘unknown' mother of two needed help in finding a job, he was the one who dropped everything to set up an appointment for her at his office in less than 24 hours. When young professionals feel 'lost' or need solid advice, they turn to Stavros Ioannou. Indeed, when I want to make an impact with my speeches and training sessions, I know I can always pick his brains! He almost never turns people down and will always make time for those who ask for his valuable time and advice. 

Applying the 12th step is all about helping each other, whether by offering time, like Lahat, or assistance and advice, like Stavros, or both. The more we look after each other, the safer we feel, live and work together. There is a very apt African proverb that states, “If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.” Taking the 12th step means going together.

Words of Wisdom

On taking the extra step:

“Do more than belong: participate.

Do more than care: help.

Do more than believe: practice.

Do more than be fair: be kind.

Do more than forgive: forget.

Do more than dream: work.”

William Arthur Ward, Writer

A Question to Ponder, dear friend.

“When have you taken that 12th step? How did you feel afterwards?”

Hit reply and let me know.


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Best Regards,

Michael R. Virardi