I believe leadership has three primary guidelines. Calling them “rules” makes them feel too inflexible.
- Learn how to be a good lieutenant.
- Change happens. Don’t hold anyone back from being who they are because you are comfortable with who they’ve been.
- Life is about paying it forward. Always.
I believe anyone can be a leader and that it is a choice. To many, leadership looks a lot like the guy who rides astride the lead horse, with his sword outstretched in front of him, yelling, “follow me, boys!”
But a true leader learns the three basic guidelines above and sticks to then, even as they bring heartache, disappointment and sometimes resentment. Paying it forward and supporting the dreams of others means it may not pay out for you, but the reward always has to be the satisfaction of generosity. The bonus is the “pay out” if it happens.
The arc of fulfillment is very wide and sometimes it is hard to see how your actions today will rest on the other side.
Mårup Kirke is a small church outside of the town of Lønstrup on the far northwest coast of Denmark overlooking the North Sea. Since 1250 until 2008, it sat silently weathering the winds of northern Denmark and defying the erosion of the North Sea.
In 1808, a British frigate on its way from England to Gothenburg, Sweden sank in the North Sea off the coast of Denmark. The people of the parish buried the dead in a common grave next to Mårup Kirke.
Today, you can stand on the edge of the graveyard overlooking the North Sea — which used to be its center — lean over the edge, look at the face of the cliff and see bones sticking out.
I was last at Mårup Kirke in July 2007 with my good friend Peter. It would be my last opportunity to visit the church before the kommune started dismantling it and putting it in storage. Like any good American, I remarked that it was sad that the cliffs were eroding, the church would not be there for future generations and the stories of the men buried there would just be washed out to sea.
And like any good Dane, he just shrugged and said, “Well, the coast is eroding here on the west, but it’s building up in the east. Pretty soon, we’ll be able to walk to Sweden.”
This is the absolute best session of 2015 SXSW. It is an hour long, but if you are into books, worth the listen.
After some strange neuropathy a few years ago put my banjo-playing on an indefinite hold, I tuned and attempted a roll today. It wasn’t that good, but it’s a start.
I was interviewed by Saxon Henry for Adroyt.
Saxon Henry helped me structure the book through her blog-to-book strategy, one of her services. It was an extremely rewarding process she wanted to have me share so that others who might be struggling to publish a collection of works might be inspired to take the leap.
You should check it out; good stuff. The questions are better than the answers, but then you won’t know if I’m making that up unless you read the interview and judge for yourself.