The guy in the leather jacket is Mike, a Portland Oregon Hip Hop artist.
The good looking gentleman in the gray sweater, is me.
When a few friends and I arrived at the partially stripped Vance Creek Bridge last Saturday, Mike had been sitting at the start of the wet and rusted beam for over an hour.
He had his video crew waiting on him, trying to film a music video on the bridge.
The beam starts at 20′ above the ground and eventually turns into the second tallest railway bridge in the United States.
Mike was scared as hell and so was I.
To get to the wood railroad ties of the bridge and ultimately to “safety”, you must first walk across 70′ of slippery metal.
I crawled the first time across.
When I came back, Mike was still fighting his fear with 6 different people giving him advice on the best way across.
I offered to go back across with him to lead the way and Mike immediately took me up on my offer. We had never met but we had a common enemy, the ground below.
One butt-slide at a time and cracking a few jokes along the way, slowly but surely we made it over and Mike over came his fear.
Actions, not words, are the ultimate results of leadership.
I was surprised when Mike took me up on the offer, for all he knew I could have been a psychopath who would push him off the bridge once we got to the highest point.
But there is something about leadership that we seem to forget, especially when it comes to leadership of a large organization, a company, a group of people, or even a relationship.
When we end up in a situation that requires us to lead, we believe that it is by our words that we must lead.
Suddenly we create lists, send out emails, make calls, and talk in meetings all day long about what needs to be done and how it should be done. With a fist on the hip and a pointing finger, we become the experts.
We don’t need to DO the tasks right? We are the leaders for goodness sake! We have a responsibility bestowed upon us … is what we think.
What did the GREAT kings and military leaders of their time do? Send 18 year boys into battle and watch from a hill?
They were in the heat of the battle with their life on the line alongside everybody else.
If we want to inspire, we MUST lead by example. We must not advise from the safety of an office, from the comfort of our couch, or the security of solid ground.
To inspire action, we must be willing to take the first step and show the way.
Only then will they follow… and we become leaders.
There is a better way to live! 🙂