I often tell the story of a world-class archer; he is a fierce competitor, holds multiple championship titles in his respective sport. No one can compete with this archer or so he thought.
Our world-class archer was driving through the countryside one day and as his vehicle crest a hilltop, he saw a barn nestled in the glen below. The broadside of that barn was littered with hundreds of arrows, dead in the center of every single target.
Our world-class archer’s heart starts beating faster as he thinks to himself, My goodness have I finally met someone who can compete with me? Someone who can challenge me? Force me to be a better archer? A fellow archer who will make me prove that I’m number one?
By the way, is this archer threatened by the fact there is someone out there who may be better than him, more skilled? No way. Because real competitors, real leaders, want to be challenged because competition isn’t a threat, it's an invitation to get better—be better.
He speeds his car down to the barn nestled in that glen. He is overcome with anticipation as he throws his car in park, leaps out of the driver’s seat, and races toward the front door of the home adjacent to the barn.
The world-class archer knocks on the front door, a guy answers the door, the world-class archers says, “Sir I hate to bother you, but is this your barn?”
The barn owner says, “Yes, it is my barn.”
To further inquire about how there are so many arrows expertly placed in the center of every target on the side of that barn, the world-class archer asks, “Do you shoot?”
And the barn owner responds, “I shoot every day; it's a passion of mine!”
Our world-class archer says, “I shoot also. It’s my life’s passion; it’s all I do. As a matter of fact, I’m almost embarrassed to say this out loud, but I have all of my archery gear in my car. Will you give me the honor of shooting with you today?”
The barn owner gives the world-class archer a hearty yes and together they make their way to the barn and get everything set up for what is sure to be one heck of a competition.
Real leaders want to be challenged because competition isn't a threat, it's an invitation to get better. @DQuiggle
The barn owner rears back his bow, he randomly shoots into the side of the barn—not even toward another arrow, let alone at a particular target—just lobs an arrow into the side of a barn. He then grabs some paint and starts painting a target around his randomly placed arrow, on the side of his barn, littered with what we now know to be hundreds of haphazardly shot arrows.
From a legacy leadership perspective, you know where I’m going with this right?
As a leader—of your teams, your business, your family—are you randomly shooting at the side of a barn? Are you ending up in places and then declaring, “Well folks, I guess that’s where we’re supposed to be.”
See the barn owner, he was a far cry from an archer—let alone the best archer. Is it the same of you as a leader? Are you a leader in name only because you haphazardly found yourself in that position? Or are you deliberately leading with purpose, direction, and optimism?
I challenge you to paint the target first because if you don’t, you’re not your best, and you’re cheating yourself and the people who look up to you as a leader.
Take a step back, paint the target, paint the vision, and then show everyone around you what that target is, and what they get out of being part of reaching that target.
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