This is the fourth part of a series on the origins of the Lead Change Group based on one of the key books that inspired me to take action: Tribes by Seth Godin. For links to all the posts, check out this page.
On page 42 of Tribes, Seth Godin remarks that there are no shortage of great ideas. The only thing keeping great ideas from seeing the light of day is “the will to make the ideas happen.” The F Word in the title is fear. It keeps us from exercising the will to make ideas happen. Fear tells us to embrace the status quo. Fear questions our assumptions and challenges our beliefs.
John Wayne’s last movie was The Shootist, a movie about a dying gunslinger, John Bernard Books, who was confronted with a diagnosis of cancer. He spent his last week in a boarding house with a widow and a teenage boy, Gillom Rogers, played by Ron Howard. At one point in the move, Books gave Gillom a shooting lesson.Gillom Rogers: Mr. Books, How is it you’ve killed so many men? My spread wasn’t much bigger than yours. J.B. Books: First of all friend, there’s no one up there shooting back at you. Second, I found most men aren’t willing, they bat an eye or draw a breath before they shoot. I won’t.
Fear causes us to bat an eye or draw a breath. “We can try tomorrow. Nothing’s going to change. Someone else can take that chance.” We make excuses because we fear the consequences. We risk the ridicule. Failure is a lonely place. It’s embarrassing and deflating to screw up your guts and then strike out.
Heretic is a word Godin uses for someone who challenges the status quo. “In a battle between two ideas, the best one doesn’t necessarily win. No, the idea that wins is the one with the most fearless heretic behind it.”
In the following chapter, Thinking Your Way Out Of Fear, Godin tells us we can put together a plan and think our way through fear. We must engage our minds and remember “The only thing holding you back is your own fear. Not easy to admit, but essential to understand.”
What’s holding you back from becoming the leader you know you can be? What’s keeping you from taking responsibility for your situation. Fear challenged me when I clicked the button to start the Lead Change Group. Fear called me stupid when I started trying to actually ask people to join and fear paralyzed me when I began asking people to commit to $24 a month to help cover the costs of the group.
Now after 3 years, we’ve held a conference, hosted 2 Leadercasts, held 6 breakfast discussions in Tulsa averaging about 40 people per event (see this video), managed a successful website for 3 years and published a pretty-darn-good book, The Character-Based Leader: Instigating a Leadership Revolution… One Person at a Time.
What about you? What can you do? You don’t have to start on your own. You can begin with us. Tell us what’s going on and let us help promote your activity. If you’re committed to modeling leadership in your world, we want to help you. Resist the temptation to “draw a breath or bat an eye.” Go for it! The only thing you have to lose is a life spent protecting the status quo.