What would happen if you went too far?
I watched my son dodge waves at the beach this chilly winter morning. He’d watch a wave come in, let it get within a metre or so of him, and then he’d run up the sand until he was beyond the reach of the water.
Eventually, he was waiting until the water was barely inches from his running shoes before commencing his retreat. And with each progressive wave, he got even bolder and cheekier, pushing his luck until inevitably the waves lapped over his shoes and he got a soaker.
He looked down at his wet shoes, socks and pants, laughed, and went right back to dodging waves.
Playing it safe
Canadian hockey great Wayne Gretzky said “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
As a leader, if you don’t take any “shots” then you’re not doing your job.
Risk is inherent when you lead people, whether it’s taking a chance on delegating an important task to someone who may or may not be ready for it, or agreeing to speak to a bigger group than you ever have before.
The speed of learning
The fastest way to learn something is to experience it, mess it up, and go again.
Just as a pendulum swings past the centre line many times before finding equilibrium, the best way for you to build your leadership skills is by taking things too far. You need to make mistakes. You need to aim for Personal Bests.
You need to challenge your limits.
Progress is happiness
There’s a joy that comes with stepping further than you ever have before. There’s a thrill in taking on challenges that are just beyond what you think you’re capable of.
Reach for them.
I’m not talking about diving into the water, fully dressed, on a chilly winter day.
I’m saying get your feet wet.