The Light or The Bulb
We’ve all received the poignant advice from an elder to “do what I say, not what I do.” Of course, as we grow up and learn more about life and leadership we realize just how unrealistic that request is. Our actions are often heard far before our voice.
In this regard I’m always reminded of the coach in the huddle of his players, with veins popping out of his neck, yelling at the team to “calm down!” If that sounds a bit ironic, or hypocritical, that’s because it is. But, it’s certainly not an occurrence that is relegated to only sports.
The lack of alignment between what one says and what one does is spread throughout all aspects of society. We have plenty of people sharing great messages, while putting very little into action. And, we have plenty of people doing great things which no one is aware of.
Considering the questions Campbell poses in the opening quote - am I the bulb or the light, the answer seems clear if excellence and leadership is the objective. We must be both.
Those that view themselves as only the bulb fails to add what only they could add to their story. Those that view themselves as only the light fail to apply proper value to their vessel.
Why Should We Care?
Excellence requires that we impact the people around us. The idea of impacting others is central to the purpose of anyone’s life. A purpose void of impact on others is merely a goal. In order to maximize our impact, alignment is vital. What we do and what we say must match.
Most leaders focus on being the light. We share our thoughts and ideas on what we believe, how things should be done, and why it's the best way to do it. All of our focus in educating and training leaders is dedicated to guiding the light.
We need to pay just as much attention to the bulb that carries the light. It’s no less important than the light. As a matter of fact, it could be argued that the vehicle is equally as important as the light itself. Afterall, it is the bulb that determines the wattage, isn’t it?
In giving more consideration to the bulb, we begin to realize the importance of our health and energy. We embrace the reality that our presence and appearance as leaders is important. And, we begin to see leadership as much relational as it is informational.
REAL TALK - Action Steps
Being both the light and the bulb should seem like a challenging proposition because it is. It’s supposed to be. Aspiring to excellence is supposed to be hard. The one that’s not hard is called mediocrity. The world will gladly allow you to accept that one. Here are a few ideas to help you serve well in both roles, the light and the bulb.
Leadership is at its best when the bulb and the light align. When the bulb is just strong enough to perfectly accentuate the light, it is at its very best. Consider our leadership impact the same way. Both your message and the delivery of that message determine the impact of the light you share.
For more information on building excellence in your teams, visit us at www.bluecollargrit.com.
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I'm a teacher, coach, and parent seeking excellence while defining success on my own terms.