Seth Godin is a blogger- only he has a million readers.
He’s taken his blog and turned it into books.
The current one on leadership, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us has been a top seller on Amazon.
He has an excerpt on his blog today:
Leadership is scarce because few people are willing to go through the discomfort required to lead.
The scarcity makes leadership valuable. If everyone tries to lead all the time, not much happens. It’s discomfort that creates the leverage that makes leadership worthwhile.
In other words, if everyone could do it, they would, and it wouldn’t be worth much.
It’s uncomfortable to stand up in front of strangers.
It’s uncomfortable to propose an idea that might fail.
It’s uncomfortable to challenge the status quo.
It’s uncomfortable to resist the urge to settle.
When you identify the discomfort, you’ve found the place where a leader is needed.
If you’re not uncomfortable in your work as a leader, it’s almost certain you’re not reaching your potential as a leader.
I’m not running for office because someone put me up to it, nor because I believe myself to be ideally suited for the world of politics. I’m running, because I don’t scare easily, a comfortable with myself and what makes me tick, and because I strongly believe we need creative thinkers leading us, not puppets with strings.
The moment we start seeing people running, and winning, without having to sell out- my work will be done in the public arena, and I can get back to doing full-time what I love: graphic design, advertising, creating new media. In the meantime, in case most of you didn’t notice, had I not gone out and gotten my signatures (almost singlehandedly) you wouldn’t have a choice at all.
This is part of the dilemma of our political landscape. Not many of us feel OK standing up in front of strangers, challenging the status quo, championing ideas that might fail (or be laughed off). If I had a nickel for every joke about a mask or ninja, or $1000 for everyone who “got it” and understood what was going on that day in the commission chambers, I’d be rich with nickels.
Martin Sheen understood what I was doing that day. He told me over dinner that he thought it took more guts to go to that meeting and protest the secret meetings- than what he does (and he’s been arrested over 80 times protesting). The joy of winning five court cases didn’t equal the feeling I had when I left Martin that evening, after 3.5 hours of intelligent, insightful conversation about the human condition.
Running for office against the political machine is uncomfortable to say the least. I won’t go into the details of all the times I’ve been attacked- both physically and emotionally, over sticking my neck out and asking questions that we’re not supposed to ask. Some of my readers take great joy in pointing out my foibles. Yet, they keep coming back and reading more. I can’t even give a real number on how many people read this site- with it being republished on DaytonOS (so that you government folks don’t get in trouble for reading it at work), RSS feeds, and the pass around factor. However, I do know, it is well read by people in the know and those in power.
Writing these posts takes time. Running for office takes time. And we all know time is money- and, if there is one thing for sure- running for Dayton City Commission can’t be for the money (last I heard, it paid $36K a year- not bad for part-time work, but with the challenges facing us, we know that it will take more than part time to get things back on track.).
I’m not asking for sympathy from anyone. I chose this adventure, for better or worse. But, I do ask, just this once, for everyone who reads this post- to leave a comment, saying “I read”- and, you can use your real name, or an alias, a real e-mail or a placeholder, just to remind me why I do this (and, I can tell if someone is posting multiple-times under different names- so please don’t)-
because as Seth says: “because few people are willing to go through the discomfort required to”… change.
And our City no longer can survive if we don’t.