I Couldn’t Watch!

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Nik Wallenda, that is, when he was crossing between two skyscrapers on a high wire tightrope in the windy city of Chicago. Nik acknowledged that there was wind and it was cool but declared it wasn’t unbearable.  Heights make me nervous and I have been known not to stand too close to windows in high-rises or even the 10th floor of a hotel room! I couldn’t fathom what he was trying to prove! I watched the television with squinted eyes, closing them and looking away on occasion as Nik successfully made it with a blindfold on the second crossing.

The next day I listened to an interview with Nik. He mentioned having moments where yes, the wind blew and caught him and he had to re-establish his balance, but what he added was very insightful. “I always keep the end goal in mind”. Wow! If Nik Wallenda can walk across a tightrope and maintain his cool by keeping the end goal in mind, we as leaders should be able to do the same.

When Nik completed his crossing, he had a celebratory dinner with his family then went back to the site and helped his team put equipment away so that the streets of Chicago were open again in the morning. Nice touch!

It has been said that the anticipation of doing something fearful or challenging is always worse than actually doing it. When we do try something that takes us out of our comfort zone, keeping the end goal in mind helps us get through the terrifying parts. When we actually step out to reach that vision, our skills naturally come forward and the fear subsides. And when we do reach that goal, not only does it feel exhilarating, but also we wonder how it happened so quickly. As leaders, if our vision is compelling and we have communicated that clearly and consistently, we will get there whether we cross tightropes or not.

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