Today would have been my Dad’s 83rd birthday. While it has only been three years since his passing, I still hear his voice, sense his encouragement and feel his presence. I want to take pause today to reflect on a few of examples of his leadership in my life – as my first and greatest mentor.
I don’t know about you, but I always wanted to be like my Dad. He kept his family close, but knew when to let out the rope. Sometimes I tripped on it and a few times I was left dangling. Shouldn’t leaders do this as often as possible?
My father led by example; full of character, honesty and fairness and always a gentleman. He was ready with a comforting word and prepared to steer you back on the path, but ready to let you live your own life and make your own course.
It is through making your own course and gaining practical experience that wisdom is found and unleashed. When we get burnt by a flame, we learn not to touch it and through that action we feel and understand the power of the flame. These flames can create a spectacular sizzling, New York Strip, or burn it to an inedible crisp. Words, like flames, can be friend or foe. Leaders have daily opportunities to share experiences, offer options and build depth in the organization. Any scars we receive in our life are a deep, physical reminder of the past, and to keep you on guard in the present.
I want to leave you with the last paragraph of his eulogy. It drives home an important message we should all keep in mind when we are at the end of our rope, or being burned in the flames.
“August 3rd was my Dad’s birthday, and it is very appropriate he passed away on March 4th. You see, March 4th is the only day in the entire calendar that is a command – March forth. Something we all need to do, go forward, move ahead, live life to its fullest, enjoy the day, seize the moment, and be part of this great mystery called life. March forth.”
As a leader, are you ready to march forth?