This dynamic organism we call the world is not a sterile place. We’ve got personal tragedy, family dysfunction, social biases, and even dangerous conditions that come between us and our life purpose. Sometimes the state of our history and circumstances are so great they seem insurmountable. And while every individual is different, I am convinced that one standard applies to all of us with aspirations for leadership: If we want to get to the other side of that wall that separates us from our purpose, we have to first believe we can scale it.
Note I said believe we can scale it. There’s little point in even coming out of the starting blocks if you don’t believe you can ever get over the hurdle. Never mind the talk about try, try again if we don’t succeed the first time because it doesn’t matter if we’re not even open to the idea of success.
True story: Twin brothers came from the same parents, home, and environment. One took the path of education, business, and healthy relationships. The other went down the road of cocaine addiction and disaster. The second brother always viewed himself as a victim of personal tragedy and family dysfunction. The first saw himself as an overcomer of personal tragedy and family dysfunction. And I see their attitudes as a fundamental agent of their outcomes.
I have asked myself do I believe that I am capable, that I can change things, that I was made to impact the world, not just be impacted. These questions put me in a wonderful bind. I could inspire myself to become the change I am intended to be, or take a lesser road full of traps of my own making. For many years I was on the hamster wheel of success. I would do stuff, move around, make some money, and then do more stuff, but real leaders are made to grow in a forward motion.
I can truly say that I feel I am on the right road now, one whose coordinates lead to my purpose in life. And despite the obstacles, the road has never felt better. Just a few weeks ago, I was called by the team for author John Maxwell to serve as master of ceremonies for one location of a worldwide leadership simulcast. I take this as an opportunity to absorb knowledge and wisdom at the same time that I am part of that change I am talking about. It is humbling and exciting.
I encourage those of us with the passion and calling for leadership to know that the change begins with us, literally. I can be the change in my world, life, family, marriage, business, or whatever it is, if I believe I can get over the wall.