Imagine that you are seated in the audience for an orchestral performance when, after a brief start, the conductor stops, speaks briefly to a few startled musicians, resumes his stance at the podium and with arms outspread with baton in hand, delivers a downbeat that results in the most breath-taking, awe-inspiring performance you have ever heard! Years later – do you remember the soul-stirring performance? Or do you remember the uncomfortable beginning? If you remember the need to re-start the performance, does your memory allow you to view it as the conductor having courage to make that bold move?
How can we build a world that would value the stunning performance or at the very least, value the courage to start over? To bring it closer to home, how do we build a culture in our county where leadership does not require perfection? How do we become a county that would applaud the effort and the ultimate delivery of success, despite a false-start or two? The answer to these questions might just be the first steps in overcoming our leadership drought.
Of late, I find myself a student of Brené Brown, PhD, in particular her book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead.
In the book Dr. Brown makes the case that modern media has contributed to a culture of scarcity, where no one is ________ enough (insert the word you most closely relate to – beautiful, strong, smart, talented, rich, powerful, influential, etc.).
Living day to day with the feeling of never being enough drives uncertainty and emotional exposure. We may or may not put on armor to protect us but we certainly do not put ourselves ‘out there’ or make ourselves vulnerable. We certainly do not step up and take the lead.
Can we make strides to overcome a culture of scarcity? Can we become a county that abhors scarcity and ‘dares greatly’? Can we become a community where there is victory in trying even if there is no success, success is delayed, or success requires several attempts?
I answer, “YES!” and issue the following challenge. Let’s join forces to identify leadership potential and to those individuals, pledge our unconditional support. We will offer to mentor, pick them up should they fall, coach them through challenges, forgive missteps, honor a request for help and allow them to start over on their road to awe-inspiring leadership.
We can be the community that does not use shame as a tool because we value engagement, need leadership and recognize that success is never a guarantee. We will support those who engage, those who lead. We will dare greatly and inspire others to dare greatly. In so doing, we will become not only individuals who aspire to a life of wholeheartedness but a community with a heart.
In closing, I leave you with words of Theodore Roosevelt that inspired Dr. Brown (and yours truly) hoping that you find inspiration as well:
not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles,
or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly:
who errs, who comes short again and again.
because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;
but who does actually strive to do the deeds;
who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions;
who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,
and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly,
so that his place shall never be with those cold
and timid souls who neither know victory or defeat.
Dr. Ann Hoscheit
Chair, Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services Chair-elect, Gaston Regional Chamber