Taking Steps Toward Leadership–Growth

What is your capacity for growth?  How do you know?

Picture yourself at a climbing wall.  You have your belay line attached; you know you can’t hurt yourself if you fall.  How high can you climb?  Do you get stuck?

You get 3/4 of the way up and you can’t find the next hand hold or toe hold.  You have 2 hands on a single knob and your feet spread so far that you are nearly in the splits.  You move one foot to find a more comfortable position, but it takes you backwards, or is on the wrong side of your body.  You have to substitute 1 foot into your current foot hold which means you have to take all your weight on your arms.  You manage the change over and your newly freed foot cannot now find a place to set down.  There’s another hand hold just out of reach.  Can you jump to get it?  Oooof, ooof, argh.  OK, no.  Now your arms are shaking with fatigue and your foot is cramping up.  Do you give up and ride the belay line down?

Have you failed?  There’s the real lesson here.  You have managed to find another way up the wall that dead ends.  You try again with another route and get stuck 1/2 way up.  Now you hurt all over.  How many times do you have to try to find the easiest path to the top.  Do you WANT to find the easiest path?

When I tell people I am a music teacher, I sometimes get the follow-up from the person in effect, “I’ve always wanted to learn an instrument.  What’s the easiest?”  What??? What a stupid question!  Really!  The easiest is the radio.  The consideration should be this:  Which sound appeals to you the most?  What kind of music do you want to learn?  You could have the potential to be an amazing oboist, and you choose trombone because you think it would be easier?  “I’ve always wanted to learn a foreign language.  Which one is easiest?”  All of them are easier than English.  “I’ve always wanted to learn to play a sport.  Which one is the easiest?”  Power teeter tottering?  “I’ve always wanted to get a college degree.  Which major is easiest?”  There are no words…  What would be the point in going for the easiest?  The goal is not the ending point, it’s what it makes of you to attain it.

Going back to the wall the 2nd day and every day for the next week will make you stronger and familiarize you with the idiosyncrasies of that particular wall.  Your arm and hand muscles get stronger, your legs more flexible, you can even grip things with your toes.  You can go up the flat wall, then you can go up the corner crack, then you can go up to the over hang, then you can try bouldering, then climbing actual boulders, then cliff faces, then El Capitan in Yosemite.  You now have strength and instinct you didn’t have before.  You have MORE CAPACITY to grow in this area.

You like a mellow sound, and classical music, so you choose the French Horn, and as you learn to hear and adjust, you also learn to breathe and phrase and increase your dynamic range.  As you grow, you also increase your capacity to grow.

You learn Spanish, then Italian, then discover that Italian and Romanian are a lot alike, so you pick that up, then French, then German, then Polish and Russian…why?  Because with each language you learn, you increase your capacity to learn more languages.  You get a degree in education, then you get one in business, then in math and then computer programming.  Once you have figured out how to study and what applies to you, you increase your capacity to pick up different disciplines.

Grow your capacity to grow.  Grow as big as you possibly can in as many areas as you possibly can, as quickly as you can!  It’s the journey that allows you to increase your capacity and your first goal is just that…a stepping stone to your next goal.


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