I’ve always been enamored by people who could cook using cast iron pots and pans. For years they seemed to have been a mystery to me.
Then, starting in January, I began cooking my breakfast every morning using a cast iron pan. I learned how to prep the pan, how to cook in the pan, and how to clean the pan, and I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to using a non cast iron pan again.
The more I have used my new favorite cooking pan, the mystique and intrigue of cast iron has slowly faded away. What used to be a mystery has become a staple in my routine.
What fascinates me is the mystery was greater when I hadn’t tried cooking with cast iron. It was something “they” always used, not something I used. I would read about how to use it, but the best growth came through experience.
I’m probably moving in an obvious direction at this point, right?
Leadership is the same way. We can read about leadership. We can watch and admire what “they” do. But until we roll up our sleeves and start exercising leadership, theory is only theory.
Leadership is messy. Plans don’t go the way we want. We make mistakes. We pull the trigger too fast on some things, and not fast enough on other things. We look back and see what we could have done differently.
But at the end of the day, leadership only grows when it’s being used.
My success as a leader is not based on my most recent endeavor. My success as a leader is based on my ability and willingness to move forward in spite of or inspired by my most recent endeavor.
What decision are you holding off on because you’re afraid to move forward today? What’s your cast iron pan? What is the thing that intimidates you? Step up to the metaphorical stove and start cooking! You’ll be glad you did.
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