Dad tricked my siblings and I when it comes to reading as a habit. This is why I read. A lot. From blog posts to books. Being a little more grown up, I appreciate it.
He took us to the bookstores, and besides our textbooks, bought extra reading material for us. He made us value the books by covering them with us. Then he’d wait a few weeks and kinda give teasers on some of the books he’d bought for us.
Now that I think about it, there is no way he could’ve made up trailers to some of them if he hadn’t read them. This means that I read some books as boy dad also read. Books and words.
The only thing romantic about doing things that matter, about changing the world, is the idea of romance. The thought of doing anything of significance can excite many, if pitched right. With this I would include the skew perception of passion.
The actual work is not romantic at all. It is the “product” or outcome that makes whatever one does worth it. It’s like exercise. I hate the workout but love the product.
Think artists, musicians or performers. The reason we have perceptions of it being romantic is because we get to se the product. The real work is when the artist starts their day at 04:00 after leaving studio at midnight. The work is when their fitness and vocal trainers push them beyond what they thought they could do.
The real work is managing missing family. The real work is in the hustle. It is in fighting monotony and finding inspiration when you’ve given everything you had and never thought you had.
Think leadership, it is cool seeing someone “in charge”, giving vision and directives. What you don’t see is the insomnia leaders sometimes have as they second, third, ninety-ninth time guess themselves as they feel the weight of decisions they have to make.
It is how to deal with things no one every told them about. There is the tension to mange, the one between the well-being of those you lead and the vision of the organisation. It is picking yourself up after pulling daggers from your back from people you thought were with you.
This is not to make anything bad or bleak. It is a reality that some have to deal with from time to time. To every masterpiece there is a story of pain, agony, excitement, love, sadness…
There is no leadership without vision. Vision is what gives purpose to all effort and activities. A leader without vision is a captain who takes people on a road trip without a destination and map to it.
Clear vision inspires action. Not keeping vision in clear sight creates a toxic team and organizational environment. Keeping vision in front is necessary for keeping the main thing the main thing.
Leaders are dreamers. They are dreamers for the organization and subsequent change the organizations’ activities bring to the world at large.
Leaders have to bridge dreams for their organizations and the world with the action that makes them happen. They cannot and must not stay in dream mode but also move into action mode.
They must also be careful not to get stuck in action mode but remember that they constantly need to dream.
In order to dream, they need to create space for what Bill Hybels calls “Blue-sky days”. They are days where they just dream. Where they just imagine and dream for their organization and the value their organization adds to the lives of those they serve.
Blue-sky days are moments of dreaming without any limitations. Imagining possibilities without getting hung up on how to make them happen.
In dreaming leaders must fight the temptation to cross over to their action mode. When you switch to action mode, that is, already try to figure out what it would take to make some dreams happen while you drew, you cripple your capacity for dreaming.
Already trying to figure out how you’re going to make something happen while you’re dreaming smothers possibility of what could be.
Do not kill your dreams before they’ve even had a chance to live by trying to figure out everything in the dreaming stage. Consider the dreaming stage as the womb of dreams. See it as the cradle of vision.
Plans and goals and how you are going to make vision happen is only secondary. Starting a new enterprise? Do you need to bring about new life into your organization?
Call your team together and have blue-sky day. Imagine the possibilities. Dream about what you could make happen. Do not entertain the pragmatic leader in you.
Give space for your dreams to come out. When dreams for your organization and those you are save are powerful enough, you will find a way to make it happen.
Make provision for blue-sky days. Let them be, so that you better serve your organization and its stakeholders. Blue-sky days are also incubators of innovation. Let the blue skies be.
I wish I was at TED 2013. I followed Bono’s talk on Twitter and the TED blog. Wow Bono, the U2 front man, is passionate about music and world change. He is also co-founder of the ONE campaign, a movement fighting the injustice of extreme poverty.
I’m sure when U2 started Bono never dreamed that his music would give him the platform he has today. It is not only his music that has allowed him to fight poverty. He understood the influence or the platform his music gave him beyond his performance.
Means and End
I am not aware of Bono’s motivations when they started U2. It may have started out as a means to get their music out to entertain people and make a living. As with many things, you never realize the true potential of an endeavor until you actually pursue it.
The potential impact of endeavors gets more obvious when they are pursued
From Bono, we can learn not to make our vocation the end but a means. Dare to make your career more than getting cheese on your table. It is important to provide for your family but you have to live for something more than just fame or your career for the sake of it.
We have more to give to the world than our selfishness
Not having money, skills, time and other resources like Bono, does not excuse you from not contributing your share to world change. To leaving posterity with a great future. Reading this is evidence that you have more than enough to give.
Stop looking at what you don’t have and use what you do have to play your part in changing the world.
You may not grace the stage at TED like Bono and many others, but that is not the point. The point is leaving something for your children’s children’s children that you will be proud to give. A world where poverty is something read from history textbooks. A world where posterity looks back in history in shock and disgust at the levels of corruption in our time because it will be foreign to them.
Consider how much influence you have. You may not have a rock star’s platform but there are people you influence. Leverage your influence. Influence is currency and catalyst for world change, but only works when it is traded. Dare to make big asks in making the world a greater place. Do it like a rock star and be unashamed and unapologetic about making the world a greater place.
What else can we learn from Bono and other rock stars to help us make the world a greater place?