Ron's Material Leadership Blog

It is my sincerest hope that the stories I share are helpful to others. I have experienced first hand that many people toil in obscurity, searching for answers, ashamed to reach out and ask for help. This blog will contain experiences and wisdom that I have gained over the years that I hope will offer guidance in dealing with some of life's challenges.

Why the name material leadership? If you are curious the answer is on my website.
The link on the side bar.

Lead well


Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Welcome to California... Now go home.

“Welcome to California…Now go home!” read the worn bumper sticker on the bumper of an old dusty pickup. It was one of our first days in California. Fresh off the plane and eager to start our new life in southern California, my family and I were filled with anticipation. Even a sentiment like this, while memorable, could not tarnish our excitement.

It was seven years ago, my family and I had just made a huge leap of faith. I resigned from the only company I had ever worked for to take a new position at a company in southern California. I cannot begin to describe the fear that was generated from this destiny altering decision. There were so many questions to be answered that I wanted to give up. But that is not my way.

Never quit…without a good reason anyway

Early in my career, before I had ever spent the time to understand myself and my personal values, a friend had made a comment that resonated deeply within me. He said he never wanted to live in regret. I still remember that fateful day in late August 1993. I was at an offsite “team meeting” on the southern shores of Lake Ontario. It was a beautiful day with a light breeze, low humidity and slightly hazy. The air so perfect a temperature you could not feel it, if not for the breeze. With the best grilled Italian sausage ever in one hand and a Labatt 50 (one of the best kept secrets of Canadian beer) in the other, I forged my own version of my friend’s sentiment. I never want to finish the statement “If only I had…”. In the intervening years I added to this. Those things that frighten me I need to lean into rather than shy away from. In our fears lies growth and opportunity. I am not talking about dumb risks or life endangering activities. I am referring to those moments where your gut says I don’t know about this, may be this is not such a good idea.

Lean into the fear and see what may come.

So we jumped…and landed in southern California. I never imagined living here. Even after seven years every time I see freeway signs to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Diego, San Francisco even Barstow for petes sake I still get a sense of wonder. I actually live here. This small town boy from Oshawa, blue collar city, (the place where everyone who goes to University knows they need to leave but no one ever leaves) is living in the greater LA area? Wow… I get to go to Pico Ravine, walk along Santa Monica Pier, drive all those famous freeways in “CHiPs”, see the Kings, Ducks, Angels play at their home stadiums and act like I belong there…Wow! I can drive into mountains and visit the snow, drive into the desert and get hot, drive to the beach and be at peace with nature…Wow! I can ride a mountain bike in my extended back yard up the side of a mountain, that shakes from time to time,…and pray and worship the Lord in all these things. Wow. The child in me and he loves all this.

See the world through the eyes of a child…it will never look so bleak again

All of the wonder aside, the growth I have experienced has been immense. I have continued to discover who I am and how I relate to others from their perspective. I have learned about resilience and self efficacy. Large words that reflect your ability to get back up after being knocked down and having the confidence in your own abilities to succeed and prevail. I suppose I would have learned similar or perhaps other valuable lessons had I not taken this leap of faith. What lessons have come are treasured to me and have fueled my desire for further growth and life experience.

For now it is enough to reflect fondly on the fact that we lived our values, overcame our fears and grew as people more confident in our abilities. There was so much more to this wonderful journey, but that is another post...

Lead well


No comments:

My Favorites

Thoughts on a Recent Read

The Dip by Seth Godin

This was the first of Mr. Godin’s books I have read and I must say it will not be the last. I enjoyed this book and found its message wise and on point for our age. The premise of the book is that there is a time to quit a role, project, effort and a time to stay. When we have the opportunity to be the very best and are willing to pay the price, it is time to stay. When it is clear that staying will result in mediocrity or worse yet (Mr. Godin’s term for a dead end) a cul-de-sac, it is time to move on to something where we can be our best. The dip is the place in between. The place where we face opposition, adversity and discouragement. It is here that many wrongly chose to give up when greatness is not that far away for the brave souls who persevere.

Complexity: Low

Length: Short

Compelling: Very much

Worthwhile: Definitely