On Saturday we celebrated the finish of our year long Let's L.E.A.D. Program with SCARF (Strategic Community Assistance for Refugee Families) at Hangdog Climbing Gym. As we planned for this peak experience we thought about what connections and metaphors we were looking to bring out within the group as we reflected on our individual and shared journeys. It's been a big year, with so much learning and growth that we've all experienced and contributed to. But as we excitedly think of where to from here, we've all definitely got plenty more stretching, developing and challenges to face and navigate as we choose to embody leadership each and every day.
“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.” - Vincent Van Gogh
When you look up to the top of a climbing wall it can seem so far away. Even at various times when you're climbing, and maybe feeling stuck in a more complex section, it can still feel so far away. I know from my own experience on Saturday even when we're close to the top, depending on what rocks are available to you, there can be thoughts of not being able to make it. We all found that we had to keep reminding ourselves and each other that it only ever happens one step at a time. Having that vision of what you're working towards is great, but what really counts is having the courage to make that next move.
"The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, then starting on the first one." - Mark Twain
Leaders are learners. Leaders are difference makers. Leaders embrace challenge. Leaders are appropriate risk takers. Leaders are prepared to fail. But leaders are also very human. So sometimes leaders won't embody these qualities as they become overwhelmed by the enormity of what's in front of them. Deep breaths, the support of others and purposeful thoughts, words and actions will always open up pathways to that courageous next move. Even if it means at times stepping back, regrouping and then trying again. Just like we experienced on Saturday as we stepped up to more challenging climbs.
"The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but significance - and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning." - Oprah Winfrey