I can look back now and know a little better what went wrong. I did not come to this realization by reading a book. That little nugget will make my boyfriend smile. There was no Newton's apple that feel from a tree and granted eternal or even temporary knowledge on its interrupted path to the ground.
My realization came in, of all places, the middle of a Harry Potter movie. As I am told, it wasn't one of the better ones. It was number two. Harry is determined to find the source of a voice that only he can hear. It seems to come from the air, calling to him but no one else. Daring him to search out and get to the truth. Saving the school and his friends and mentors is a mandatory element of the experience, and adds the mandatory movie drama.
But what defines his quest is his ability to see and hear things that no one else can. I have been there. Not while searching for a shadowy serpent in the walls of my school (thankfully), but in my own service as a leader. The best leaders I have known have heard these voices too. The things unseen that were good, that served as motivation, and provided direction. Whether for a shift at a firehouse; an organization, a city or a world.
Ironically, this same trait has been found in my dating life as well. As many of my friends will nod at reading, I have made a career out of dating the possible future versions of people. The ideal possibility that they could become. The land of the present or of the real is of little worth to someone who can dream in great tapestries of roses, days exploring museums, reading books together, and flowing weddings with 500 guests in a church nave glistening in white satin candlelight. Never mind that the person before was actually looking for a quickie, or a seven foot tall guy with a beard, or would rather be stung by 3,000 bees than spend more than seven minutes in a bookstore.
Whether in love or leadership, the greatest not only see and feel that possibility and work towards it, they bring others around to hear the voice as well. They know that all matters of the heart take at least two to work. That is the difference, between a crazy man who hears noises in the dark and a visionary who helps create something better than they found. Getting others to come along too. Harry was able to do this. He has his close friends and, in this particular film, brought help to himself at his time of greatest need through the power of his faith and his loyalty.
For me, this is where I have gone wrong and where many others likely do as well. I can hear the voice, I can see the potential, and even the likely outcome, but too often my view is a solitary one. But because I am so confident in my assessment, I think I can slay the dragon all by my lonesome. That my victory will convince the doubters and the deniers that I was right all along. Maybe it will even convince the person standing beside me of the righteous path. Never mind that they long ago go off the bus, if they were ever even on it in the first place.
The truth, no matter how hard to admit, is that it does not matter what the end of that type of journey is, if no one else understands why you are on it, the victory is hollow and shallow and temporary at best.
So here's to the leaders that are good at getting others on the bus. That recognize whats real and what's imaginary. Here's to the times in our lives when we have been on the bus together, even if we didn't realize it or understand why. And here's to a life of not just seeing the possible, but knowing what to do with the vision.
And Now a Word From The Sponsor
Welcome to my site and thank you for reading. After many times thinking, if only I had a blog, well-- here we are. This blog will feature writings on a variety of topics from roadside food, to leadership in the fire service; politics; culture- gay, straight, and indifferent, my experiences in Ohio, New York and beyond; and much much more. It's my hope that you will find it interesting and that it stirs at least some thought and discussion. I am certain you wont always agree, but that is what its all about right? Oh and one more thing: The views expressed on this site are entirely my own. They do not reflect in anyway the views or positions of my employer.