Sometimes I forget that my job is more about growing my self than growing others. It is, or at it least seems to be, easier to grow others than to grow me. I usually have a point of view about who you need to be or become to do your job better. Such clarity about myself, however, is often elusive.
The amazing success of Seventh Generation has created possibilities and opportunities that we couldn’t have dreamed of a few years ago.
Those possibilities become expectations and then commitments to achieve some pretty amazing things. For me, that produces both excitement and fear, anticipation and anxiety. On the fear front, I wonder how I can provide the leadership needed to sail across the ocean on a 100-foot vessel when the totality of my experience is guiding a model sailboat across a pond in Central Park.
At times, I notice that the hand I place on the tiller of the boat trembles, and that trembling produces vibrations in the boat that slow it down. Other times I notice that I am inclined to change directions when it seems that we are not sailing quick enough. These actions may seem impulsive or reactive. But never having sailed across this part of the ocean, I can’t know how fast we are already going relative to our potential or whether a new direction will get us to our destination any quicker.
There are times, many of them, when the tiller is best left in the hand of someone else. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to be on the boat, or even guide it’s course, but holding the tiller takes a steady and experienced hand.
When you see the me I need to become before I do, when you see the need for someone else to hold the tiller, don’t be afraid to tell me. It takes many people to guide a vessel as large as this one. I want to always find the place on the boat where I can create the greatest value for this journey. That place will never remain the same for me or for you.
Fear will always send us onto the sandbar. Hope, reflection, dialogue and discussion will always help us chart the most effective course.
Most of the discussion about me happens when I’m not even in the room. In part that’s because it takes place in your own mind, in part because I’m not actually in the room. It is only through you being whom you aspire to be that you can help me become who I aspire to be. We are mutually dependent, inextricably bound together on the journey to honor our opportunity, fulfill our possibility and be the generation that leaves the world in a better place than it was when it was left to us.