Playing Big – Failure is Always a Possibility

I was with a group of friends tonight talking about leadership.  One in our group is one of the bravest people I know.  He was the driving force behind the creation of a substance abuse recovery facility in the southwest.  The facility is fabulous.  After the dedication he learned that it will fall to someone else to run and administer his dream.

He should be insulted, destroyed, discouraged, disheartened.  Right?  Nope.  He realized that circumstances and others’ decisions will move him out and move someone else in.  He also knows that the work he did was what was needed and impeccable.  He is regrouping to begin his next good work.

So, let us pause a moment and reflect on what has occurred.  By the way, let’s look at how he is responding, not what occurred to determine it was fair.  My friend is called by a compelling purpose and is answering that call.  That’s why he invested his dreams and his best work into this project.   People and circumstances have  stepped into his path and told him his work there is complete.  (You have to believe me that the message was clear and final.)

That’s where his choice occurred.  He could let the circumstance dim his hope and create questions about his future.  Or he could stay focused on what compels him – what he believes he is here to do.

He is choosing to lean into his compelling purpose.  He acknowledges that the new center is ideal and will deliver a lot of good to people in need.  He also knows it is not his to run.  Rather than getting lost in the “what might have beens” He is choosing to check back in with his compelling purpose and look for  what is next for him.

Where is leadership in this?  It is in impeccability.  A great leader focuses on the bigger game – and understands he is one of the players – not the only one.  A great leader knows when to move aside and let others take the lead.  My friend is generous and gracious as responsibilities are handed off – making sure that those left have every advantage of his experience.  Finally, a great leader measures success by what is accomplished, not by the kudos or the titles.

My friend leaves his dream project knowing he has given his very best and delivered what was promised.  He has tapped back into his passion and beginning to dream again. Leadership doesn’t guarantee a future, it creates from nothing and from everything.