In 1978 a nondescript looking young man from Northern Ireland stepped on stage at the farewell concert of a group simply called, “The Band”. When he opened his mouth to sing, he created an incredible moment in time.
He created something out of this world. How? He simply chose to “go for it!”, to sing from heart and soul, from the tips of his toes to the top of his head, giving everything, leaving nothing undone, nothing unsung.
Listening to this again this week, it gives a powerful lesson. Anytime you doubt yourself, you are thinking of holding back, as an inspiration to #BeMoreYou, find your inner Van Morrison.
Thanks to my friend and past client David Kirkaldy of Massive Group in Cayman. I wrote this post nearly a decade ago and was reminded of the idea of “Go where there be Dragons” by a tweet this week from Carl Richards.
Though my old blogs from that time got taken down before I remembered to archive the articles (lost!), this one post was saved by David reposting it in 2012, so I’ll curate it for posterity on this site today.
Because there is almost never a template to follow.
YOUR thing is unique. It’s new and novel. Instead of pitching it as “like X but for Y” you find yourself saying “there’s nothing like it!”
As soon as you do that, as soon as you tap into something that I uniquely yours…you start dancing with dragons. It’s awesome! And scary. People look at you a bit confused because they have no frame of reference for what your doing.
And of course one hint that your doing your thing is the reality that it might not work! But of course the dragons are calling to you…so even though it’s scary, even though it might not work…YOU MUST DO IT ANYWAY!
Enjoy the post.. and Go where there be Dragons! Oh, and at the very end, I believe it was the first time I used the line “Command and Control is dead”, which you may be familiar with as it is prominent on my home page! Oh, and I quoted Chip Conley, who I then met in person in April 2018, introduced through writing on this daily blog. I don’t believe in coincidence, I believe in creating serendipities! At this moment am feeling a lot of that!
However, all too often, in expressing vulnerability, leaders seem to do so behind a superhero “mask” of invulnerability, so even when they express that they don’t know the answers, they are so hidden by their mask that they won’t and so don’t show what it feels like, as a human, to be in that place.
Staying behind that “mask” means a huge lost opportunity to truly connect.
In the environment of intolerance and racism, speak out, take action, don’t be silent.
Just when we thought the level of intolerance and racism in countries like the US and the UK could not get any worse, over the last few days the US President has not only lowered the bar below where many thought it possible to go in attaching four congresswomen of colour, but he then doubled down on this over the next days and, as I write this, yesterday he addressed a rally and, as he attacked Representative Ilhan Omar once more, the crowd chanted “send her back”.
Meanwhile, the silence from elected politicians is deafening.
A few weeks ago, a cabinet minister in the UK grabbed a woman by the throat and marched her out of a room where she was making a peaceful protest.
After watching the video of that again and again, what chilled me most was that nobody in the room thought to take action against him.
We now live in an environment where people of colour are increasingly scared to be in public transport, or even go to work, where, more than ever, they are told to “go back to where you came from” and even physically bullied and assaulted.
In such an environment, speak out, take action, don’t be silent.
Consider these words:
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
I saw this photo this week posted on Instagram by my friend Arno de Jong, the amazing founder and lead guide of AlpAdventures.
In August 2018 Arno arranged a private trip for me and my three boys to the French Alps, including hiking over multiple mountain passes, e-biking up and down mountains, white water rafting and more.
The name of his business includes the word adventure, defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as :
“An unusual and exciting or daring experience”
To that description, I’d add the word “challenging”. Arno will always take time to understand the needs and capabilities of his clients and always look to challenge you (well within safe limits, he is all about safety).
When you have an adventure that challenges you, it will, as he puts it, lead you to a better view. We certainly had an amazing adventure and it was all the better for the physical challenges we faced and surmounted.
A metaphor for us all, as individuals and in leading our businesses.
The other day a dear friend of mine, a top elite sports coach and voracious learner and networker around leadership and behaviour, sent me this white paper.
Within it are some powerful learnings for leading collaboratively, yet, as so often, I wonder why corporate leaders and their consultants need to speak in such overly complicated ways.
Today let me endeavour to use Oxford Leadership’s version of the iceberg principle (ie the image above, captured from their white paper), to make a few simple points for leaders to anchor upon if they choose to lead collaboratively. (more…)
The last few weeks for me have been amazing and wonderful in different ways, and also felt brave and at times a bit scary as I embarked on something new that immediately felt important and that felt risky.
I was reminded of the idea of “to dare greatly”, and then that led me to some thoughts from the amazing Brené Brown, a leading researcher, writer and speaker on the power of vulnerability.
Today sharing some concise learnings from her from her book Daring Greatly and from President Theodore Roosevelt. (more…)
I love radical change, transformative and brave. Incremental change is important, “marginal gains” and all of that is vital to maintaining forward momentum. However, for me what I love is supporting leaders who are hungry and brave and know deeply that something more radical is needed and that this is their path.
So, when a client asks me for my advice on how to transformationally change their organisation, after I listen, ask questions, then listen some more, I often come up with this statement.
In order to make failure possible, you first have to try, to commit, to go where it may scare or even terrify you, to be vulnerable, to say “this might not work” and do it anyway.
Very recently I was disappointed to witness this first hand in someone. They were presented with a real opportunity, yet my sense is that it felt too scary to them to try, so instead, they creating a rationale for them to choose to back away and shut down. Rather than risk failure, they chose not to commit, to make the effort, to try.
By making the choice not to try, as Cate Campbell notes (see letter below) that person “let the fear of failure destroy the possibility of success”. We all have our own journey to go on, our own choices to make, and reflecting on that experience, today I’ll riff on this with lessons from two leaders. (more…)
Today I woke up to see this story of a 21 year old Swedish woman taking a stand against deportation of an Afghan from her country by standing up to prevent her flight from departing. Her name is Elin Errson, and she literally took a stand for what she believed to be right.
The video below is edited to 3′ and is very emotional and inspirational.
I’ve then linked to a Guardian interview of Ms Errson, then added my own thoughts and links to thoughts from two earlier posts on this site.
We can all be brave leaders through our individual actions
All we need do is simply take a stand for what we believe in, by simply being of integrity to that and acting from that place.