Truly Inspirational Leaders Can Dodge Raindrops
Years ago I was in Florida at Disney’s Epcot center when it started to rain. My family and I took shelter under a horseshoe-shaped pavilion.
After a while we needed something -- I can’t remember what -- from the other side of the horseshoe. So I walked across, got whatever it was and walked back.
“Dad,” my kids said. “Why aren’t you wet?”
“It’s simple,” I replied. “I walked between the drops.”
“But how do you do that?” they asked.
“You just decide the raindrops are not going to land on you,” I said. “And you miss them.”
Of course the reality is they were too short to see the rain spots on my shoulders but for a long time they believed I really could dodge raindrops.
For a leader, authenticity is definitely important. People respond to being with a real person, even if someone shows weakness, admits failure or is vulnerable. People want to be led by a real person. But sometimes there’s a downside to appearing too human, showing too much doubt, concern or uncertainty.
Related: The 4 Best Ways to Keep Inspired
At times the best thing you can inspire in your employees -- especially when the obstacles are many and the odds of success are few -- is confidence. Everyone needs to believe in what they are doing.
“Man can live about 40 days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope,” it's been said.
A few years after that Florida trip my kids started collecting little rubber bears that were sold out of coin-operated dispensers. Each one had a zodiac symbol on its chest.
My girls naturally wanted to score a bear with their symbol and they wanted to get one with mine, too. So they would ask for a couple of quarters, run to the dispenser and come back disappointed since the odds were 1 in 12 that they would get mine
On one occasion, I said, “Here are two more quarters. This time when you go up to the machine, put your hand on it and tell it which bear you want.”
“Why?” they asked.
“If you don’t tell the machine what you want,” I said, “it can’t give it to you.”
So they ran to the machine while I sat there smiling, not knowing it would work. And they came back with the right bear.
“How did you know that would happen?” they asked.
“You just have to set your mind to it,” I said. “And the universe will make it happen.”
Do I believe that? No -- and yes.
I do believe people create what they want -- if they're willing to work for it. When you truly want something, you do what it takes to try to make it happen. You don’t stop. You forge ahead. You start to notice opportunities, spot minor possibilities that end up leading you to a larger fulfillment. You begin to collect like-minded people and create the right environment for success.
You don’t “attract” what you want: You go out and find or build what you want.
When you set your mind to it, you don’t need some other mystical force to make things happen. You make them happen.
That I genuinely believe.
It’s easy to make your kids believe the seemingly impossible, with a little persuasion and a little luck. Kids want to believe.
Getting your employees to believe the seemingly impossible? That’s tougher.
Yet when you’re trying to achieve rapid growth for your company, change your industry or truly stretch the limits of what seems possible, those are the times your employees will need to not just think it's possible but believe the seemingly impossible will happen. That's the most important aspect of your job.