This blog has been in my draft folder since Saturday night. I always let emotional post or emails sleep through the night. This one slept three nights but was allowed to escape by the bizarre comments of people that have very different priorities than me. I welcome different viewpoints but as a parent and grandparent, I am locked in to one set of priorities.
Okay. Memorial Day is over but I appreciate those that gave all for this country every single day. That never stops for me.
Many did not have their mind on the men and women that gave their life for this country this weekend. This group of perfect individuals, having never made a mistake in their lives, were busy signing petitions, expressing hate, anger and concern over the shooting of a gorilla in a zoo. This blog could take so many directions but I want to stick with leadership. I will let others take different directions.
I’ll make this very simple;
Imagine you are the parent. Your three year old child is in the cage with a 400 pound gorilla. Let’s give your child a random name. Let’s call him Jimmy. For your story, substitute the name of one of your children. Yes, I know the gorilla has a name but you don’t care. He has Jimmy. He is dragging Jimmy through the water and from one side of the enclosure to the other side. He is handling Jimmy like a limp dishcloth. You don’t even know he has the strength of ten humans and don’t care. You want your child back.
You are not thinking; How, Who, What, Where or Why. You want the life of your child spared. You will take any type of personal punishment to have your child safe in your arms. Nothing can come close to the helplessness and guilt you feel at this moment. You know at any second, the life of your child could be squeezed, bitten or choked from his small defenseless body.
It’s like you can hear a giant clock ticking each second off of your child’s life. A child that should be looking at a lifespan of decades could be looking at seconds. You’re thinking your child should not pay with his life because of your lack of attention. You would swap places with your child if you could.
No punishment, petition, hate or angry words can come close to the thought of seeing your child in a small casket. Nothing can mask the pain of thinking about waking up every morning with regret, guilt and anger at yourself.
Right now you are helpless. You need a leader. You need a leader that recognizes the seriousness of the situation. You want a leader that knows that every second counts. You want a leader that knows there are no absolutes in this situation but the life of your child must be the main priority. You want a leader that takes action immediately. You want a leader that no matter how it turns out, they can say, “I did what had the highest percentage of saving Jimmy’s life.”
Saturday afternoon, a mother was thankful that leader appeared. So am I.
Sandy and I have been in a “situation.” We have received the call that our oldest daughter has been in a wreck and they are having to cut them out of the car. It took us 20 minutes to get there and for 20 minutes, we did not know if our daughter was dead or alive. I don’t wish that on anyone. Thankfully, that “situation” worked out.
There will always be more armchair quarterbacks than true leaders. The tipping point that scares me is when many leave their chair and actually assume positions of leadership. As a parent, I’m thankful that some of the haters were not making the call in this situation. Honestly, we are truly better off with them in a chair and their fingers doing the talking on a keyboard instead of making critical decisions that impact lives or livelihoods.
I will leave all the second guessing, hate and anger to others. Personally, I can’t get past Joy and Relief. We can all voice our opinion on this situation because of the First Amendment that Leaders fought and died for. If you are not a parent, well, I will quote a Harley Davidson Marketing Slogan; “If you have to ask, you wouldn’t understand.”
For you movie buffs, I guess what I’m asking is;
If your child was Taken; would you want a petition writing, human or animal rights activist negotiating with the kidnappers or would you prefer Liam (I have skills) Neeson on the case?
Did this situation have the best possible ending? No it didn’t. We all hate that it even happened. That’s why they are called situations. Leaders deal with situations. But it also did not have the worst possible ending. Why? Leadership.
Leadership; you can’t live without it. Families, organizations and countries cannot flourish without it. A child might not be alive today if it did not exist in a Cincinnati zoo.
Yes, I said might not be alive today. There is no way to rewind and try different scenarios. If you want to gamble, go buy a scratch-off ticket. If you don’t have two bucks, offer up your child. Maybe you will win and get them back.
Greg Gilbert conducts keynotes and the Leadership Development Program, “Leading Like You Own It – Why We Never Wax A Rental Car!” On-Site and at locations around the country. He also presents “Lessons In Leadership, Life And Laughter” with “Mr. HR With A Guitar” at team, association and civic meetings.
He is the author of “The Power Of Better Series – Volume I – Leading Like You Own It! Why We Never Wax A Rental Car.” and his PDF (Personal Development Fiction) book 50 Days Of Hay – A Life Changing Summer. He is committed to improving results through increased Education, Engagement and Accountability.
Visit GregGilbertCoaching.com for more information.
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