Dar and I were childhood friends who met at a trampoline school.
One day we climbed a ladder up to a billboard, high above the roof of the school, and dove off, landing on a soft pad below. I climbed to the fifth rung; Dar just kept climbing. Ten years later, he was one of the most daring and successful stuntmen of modern times.
For one of his stunts, Dar had to run full tilt forward, spin around backward, crash through a glass window, fall sixteen stories, and then do a somersault with a half twist, before dropping into an airbag. Any miscalculation or mistake would have cost him his life.
Dar’s stunts included diving off the top of the Capitol Records building in Los Angeles, leaping from a helicopter hovering at three hundred feet to land in an airbag (that looked the size of a postage stamp below), and driving a car off the rim of (more…)
It is not death or hardship that is a fearful thing, but the fear of hardship and death.
Courage is an inner resolution to go forward in spite of obstacles and frightening situations; cowardice is a submissive surrender to circumstance.
— Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King
I feel more like a leader with my people. More focused. I have more guts. Learned to let go of minutia.
To say yes, you have to sweat and roll up your sleeves and plunge both hands into life up to the elbows.
It is easy to say no, even if saying no means death.
Jean Anouilh, 1910 – 1987
I often use the story below at the beginning of executive coaching engagements, particularly when coaching groups. These executives, especially my CEO executive coaching clients, have achieved a great deal by demanding and producing rapid results. Many results, however, require extraordinary diligence and patience. This “Bamboo Story” is a useful metaphor for individuals and teams out to produce significant and enduring new opportunities. [A free, single-page version of this executive coaching story is available by clicking here.]
A certain remarkable species of bamboo is cultivated in Asia. The root system is so complex that the farmer must water, fertilize, and weed for five years before the first shoot emerges from the ground. Imagine how this farmer must look to her neighbors: “Hey, how is your dirt crop coming along?” Season after season she sees others harvesting, eating, and selling their produce, while she labors for no visible result.
Once the root system is fully developed the first shoots emerge and the plants grow as high as 90 feet in a few weeks. The bamboo grows so quickly you can hear the rustle as the leaves spread. As anyone who has tried to remove a stand of bamboo knows, good luck stopping such growth once strong roots are established.
How do you tend to your root system?
Click here to download free, printable poster of this story.
Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
–From The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes
published by Alfred A. Knopf/Vintage.
Copyright © 1994 by The Estate of Langston Hughes.