When I first joined Liberty Hill, the whole organization was thrown into an enormous project. The Executive Director Torie Osborn had persuaded Dan Pallotta who invented the AIDS Ride and the Breast Cancer Three Day to develop an event for Liberty Hill. It was a huge leap for us and everybody was freaked out by the scale of the thing. (It was called The Weekend to End Poverty and turned out to be the precursor to United Way’s HomeWalk.) At a board meeting Torie announced the event was happening and one of the board members shared with me afterwards how dubious he was that we could handle such an enormous event.
The next day I went into Torie’s office to tell her that her board support was soft. What she said to me then may not seem jaw dropping on the face of it, but it was jaw dropping for me.
“What does he think,” she asked. “That I’m not afraid?”
Until that moment I believed in fearless leadership. Until that split second I believed Torie was a fearless leader. Chest up. Charging over the hill.
There’s no such thing as a fearless leader. There’s just leading. And I realized Torie was just being a leader.
I've never looked at anyone willing to lead the same way since.
Courage isn't the absence of fear it's the triumph over it. Those are Mandela's words.
Over the last decade, that insight about leadership, fear and courage gave my leadership a lot to work on.
How does your leadership stack up? What are you strategies for dealing with fear?