It is only 11 January and we are already scampering on all fours, sweating like a dog, slamming into unforeseen obstacles, and meeting our friends, Fear and Exhaustion. February anyone?
Look away from the wall of rock. Who is around you? Beside you? On belay? Who can steady your nerves, dial down your frustration and help you see an alternate route to the top? Who enables you to do things you never dreamed possible?
Most of us are not world-class (and &^%$# insane!) free climbers. We don’t get introduced to our fullest potential when we are alone. Our own gifts are ignited exponentially when we immerse ourselves in spaces filled with people so amazing it scares us. Yes, you are so right, Chris Brogan. If you want to step up your game, surround yourself with the best people.
FIND someone who will tell you to your face “You are not thinking big enough.”
ASK someone to challenge your coolest business idea.
INVITE someone to develop a whole new way of doing something that you do daily.
ENGAGE someone in working on the thing you think is impossible today.
BE someone who moves in bold leaps in the company of a most terrific tribe.
It is 11 January. It is time to BOLD on and BOLD up.
How are you surrounded? Do share.
“We will go to the moon. We will go to the moon and do other things, not because they are easy but because they are hard.”
-John F. Kennedy, Jr.
This time of year it is easy to wake up in a fog, literally and figuratively. As the end of a grueling 2011 skids toward us, the simple path is to stay grey. Hang in the fog. Lay low. Muck around in the debris that remains from the year’s efforts. Just slush it.
That path is frighteningly crowded.
The more difficult route is UP…and OUT. Up where the air is thin and cold and quiet. Up where the sun is shining to all of the edges. Up where there are no maps, roads, or boundaries… in the space where bold “nexts” are made.
That path is frighteningly limitless.
Every day you have a vertical continuum before you. Where your head goes, so goes you… and your team.
Where is your head? What is today going to be: crowds or space?
The leaders job, after all, is not to provide energy but to release it from others.
– Frances Hesselbein
We are afraid. Very afraid. To wit: our white-knuckled grasp on “how we do it around here”, our bow to some glorified array of “best practices”, our time-tested sales scripts, and our off-the-shelf, vanilla-flavored “training” events. We could gather all of them in a marbled hall and create a museum of our fears. Or perhaps a hall of “What We Know”. Scary.
No grand museum or hall could hold the potential of what is all around us… in the talent of our team, in the minds of our customers, in that unlimited open space of “What We Don’t Know We Don’t Know”. The frontier of possibility is one that few see and into which fewer dare to tread. Who are the daredevils? How about Wieden + Kennedy, Epocrates, Acumen Fund, Groupon, and of course, Apple. The galaxy is too small for their thinking. They create and do what has never been thought of or done before. That is as BOLD as bold gets.
Find the frontier where you are (hint: you are standing in it). It’s NOW.
It’s in your team creating success next. Trust. Tap your talent.
It’s in the present and authentic exchange with customers. Trust. Engage your customers.
It’s in creating a space for learners to learn on their own path. Trust. Ignite your learners.
For gosh sakes, what the heck are you afraid of? Drop the leash.
I know there are more daredevils out there. How are YOU trekking into the frontier of possibility? Share and inspire us.
Somewhere in the wireless galaxy this text series zoomed recently:
Coach: Hey, Bold Leader, we are overdue for a reconnect. Time in the coming days?
Talent: I’m drinking from a fire hose.
Coach: Such a lovely image. Over hydrating can be lethal.
Perhaps work has come down to this: long days of drinking and smoking. As we read this, thousands… dare I say tens of thousands… of leaders are “drinking from a fire hose” or / AND (!) “Fighting fires all day long.” This is madness.
Some math for you:
1) With a fire hose @350 g.p.m. you only need .17 seconds of drinking to get your recommended 8 glasses a day. It appears, Mr. Ferris, we may be able to cut your 4 hr workday down to a sliver.
2) 100% fire response work / 10 hr day = 0 thinking, reflection, strategizing, recognizing, synthesizing…
We know the drinking and the smoke inhaling are lethal… and this lethality reaches far past our own wellbeing and performance. Running full tilt in survive mode is killing our teams, our businesses, our communities… our possibilities.
Drop your hose. Take off that fireman’s hat. Steal 5 minutes today… heck, steal them NOW… and stand in this place:
Ask yourself questions like: Given this situation, what is my great opportunity now? How can I use my gifts to ignite success today? What bold action can I take today to create something awesome? What conversation can I have in the next 5 minutes that will prevent fires tomorrow? What if…?
Then do it.
Five minutes can change the trajectory of the day. Take time to stand in THRIVE.
After all, we didn’t come this far to simply survive.
The headlamp of my Toyota Tundra got me thinking….
There are some truly brilliant people in our midst. Out-of-this-galaxy thinkers and do-the-impossible doers are rare…and they are out there inspiring the rest of us. They are defining new ways to communicate, new ways to provide clean water to impoverished chunks of the world and new ways to run global, sustainable businesses. Seriously high-wattage stuff.
Oh, to be one of THOSE folks… we can dream, can’t we?
Well, fellow 40 Watt-Club Members, we might not be finalists for the Nobel Prize but we are likely standing in an awesome place. Look around. Better yet, listen around. Ask a bold question and listen. We are surrounded by frontiers of talent, most of which have yet to be discovered. Left alone, we may have a group of people doing some tasks that summed create a business unit or a whole business. Led with less ego and more intention, a more powerful beam of possibility forms. Edge-leading thinking occurs. Never-done-before action is taken. Records are broken.
We have heard it all before. We are living it today: as leaders we cannot know everything or do everything. “Leadership is a team sport,” says Robert Steven Kaplan, author and Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School. The team is counting on us…. our light bulb, our ability to tap all of the complimentary talent around us, our energy, our direction. Let’s not let them down.
A tiny light embraced by contributions of all shapes and angles can burn a beacon that changes everything.
How’s your headlamp?