Leaders and Heroes Overcome and Stand Out
The Victory of a Moment for Heroes
This week we celebrated as my two youngest graduated high school. One after the other they walked from behind the curtain, accepted their diploma, and strode off the stage. It was incredibly exciting for them and joyful for Sherry and I.
As mundane as that sounds, it was a triumphant event. It is also a big reason why I gave the title to this post that you see.
It requires a little background, so bear with me.
You Want Humble Beginnings?
All our children were adopted from foster care. Adopted children always have challenges. Some have have enjoyed the benefit of being adopted as a newborn and thus never know any environment than the one with their adoptive parents. Ours were exposed to other environments less favorable, in some cases deplorable.
My two youngest, a boy and a girl, were both adopted at the age of two. In fact, their birthdays are exactly two weeks apart. We have jokingly called them “The Twins” even though they came from different birth families. Their backgrounds were varied.
My son was born in a house full of neglect and squalid conditions. There was also a very inconsistent adult influence. He came to us just as he turned two. Over time we saw that he was speech delayed and even later found out that he is on the Autism Spectrum. The results of that and other disorders created difficulties with relationships with teachers and others. Too many others around him and too much change created chaos for him. Changing situations created a lot of “do-overs” for him.
My youngest daughter was born premature and drug-addicted. Spent months in an incubator. Pediatric Asthma and prone to Febrile Seizures. When she first came into our lives we wondered if she was ever going to talk. Now we wonder if she is ever going to stop!
History Does Not Dictate Your Future
Both have risen from those backgrounds to become high school graduates with college ahead. He wants to become an engineer and she wants to become a voice-over artist for Disney.
They are My Heroes
because they overcame the odds. Like many, they navigate the challenges of daily life. But think about running a race where you have to start 20 yards behind everyone else. You have a lot of space to make up just to catch everyone else.
So Why Am I Sharing This Here?
You mean, other than a Blatant Dad-Brag?
I’m not above it and happy to do so. I am extremely proud of what they have done and who they are.
It is also because as a leader it tells me that where and what I have been in the past doesn’t keep me from being what I should be going forward.
If you have been the harsh, task-oriented leader in the past (or even the present) where employees were just assets – you are not doomed to stay that way.
If you have focused only on your own success, hogged all the credit and disseminated all the blame – today is the day you can start a new path.
Nothing condemns you to repeat your failures except your unwillingness to take a new direction.
If you are ready to become the leader your employees want to willingly follow – know that you can.