Why are there so few leaders in this country? The fast answer is because it’s easier not to be a leader than to be one. We inherently all want to choose the path of least resistance. Our lives are challenging and hectic enough without trying to throw something like “intentional personal growth” into the mix. Happiness and comfort are good enough aspirations for us. Especially since every time we try to make positive changes in our lives, there always seems to be someone ready to distract us or discourage us.For most of us, there just doesn’t seem to be a compelling enough reason to change. I certainly never saw one, even though I hated almost every aspect about myself and my life for a good five or six years. Then along came this fellow by the name of Orrin Woodward.
I had heard Orrin’s name once or twice, since I knew quite a few people involved in his profession, but I knew very little about him beyond the knowledge that he was the author of some book (New York Times best seller, Launching a Leadership Revolution) and that he was very successful at what he did. Sure he had critics, but no leader has ever stood out in the public eye without receiving criticism. Besides, I’d personally met too met many intelligent (and kind) people who had become successful because of Orrin’s leadership to some anonymous blogger. Still, I couldn’t figure out what it was that took an unlikeable, argumentative engineer with a bad marriage and poor finance to become a beloved leader of thousands about to launch a billion-dollar company (LIFE). Was he really that special, that different from the rest of us? There’s no question in my mind that Orrin Woodward is definitely an amazing man and leader, but as I spent more time around the business men and women he influenced, I came to the realize that what started him moving from point A to point B was nothing more than a vision of a better life.
Carl Sandburg once wrote, “Nothing happens unless first a dream.” It’s that old concept that people will only change when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of moving forward. The unfortunate truth about longing for comfort and happiness that it enables a “settle-for” life. The enemy of greatness is satisfaction with mediocrity. Study any great man or woman in history and you’ll see it was never their goal to be “happy.” What if George Washington had chosen a life of “comfort?” Winston Churchill? Rosa Parks? No one will ever claim their lives were comfortable.
Orrin is chasing his dream, and his actions inspire others to do the same. It’s the only cure for lack of leadership. As James Buchanan said, “The test of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there.”