Profiles in Community Courage
I spent the last three days observing community and business leaders in action – a few of whom personified profiles in courage. These individuals took a stand on a critical community issue and articulated a bold, inspiring, game-changing vision.

I wondered why so many leaders lack this quality.

Some seem so encumbered by “what is” or “what’s impossible” that they struggle with “what could be.” Perhaps some leaders simply do not take the time to ponder the big questions about the future. Some may be convinced they are not gifted with visionary thinking. Others appear to be waiting for someone else to set the direction. Supposedly, the nineteenth century French politician Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin said, on seeing a crowd marching through Paris, “There go my people. I must find out where they’re going so I can lead them.”

How does one discern and shape a compelling preferred future?

Let’s try it. First, intentionally carve out some quiet space and time for this essential, but not urgent, task. Next, identify a couple of big questions about your business or life that are keeping you up at night. Now, put yourself 10 years into the future and imagine, with no limits, what could be. Think about what kind of future could address these big questions by maximizing the unique value and passion you or your company can offer. Visualize the specifics of day-to-day life, the people involved, and how you are engaging with them. Write this up in present tense, as if it is happening now.

Of course you’ll want to develop alternatives to this first draft thinking. You’ll want to be mindful of trends. You’ll want to test your thinking with wise people. You’ll want to refine your ideas.

But for now, practice this activity. Get nimble at thinking forward, seeing possibilities, and setting your sights on something good and grand.

Begin building your personal courage profile today. Soon, you will be called upon to help solve our biggest community challenges, and you’ll be ready to step up.
RUTH / MUST-READ / Apr 4, 2011, 5:57pm / Comments (0)
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