Thursday, August 27, 2009

Crossing the Rubicon

A few weeks ago I discovered ABC’s new Sunday night show Defying Gravity. I was attracted by both the sci-fi aspect (it’s all about space travel) that appeals to my inner-geek and by the title (which is my favorite song from Wicked).

Last week’s episode was titled Crossing the Rubicon. I remembered vaguely the historical context of Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon as an act of war against Rome but was unaware that the phrase has become an expression of reaching a point of no return.

It got me thinking about the Rubicon’s we cross and why our crossings are so important in leadership.

Every leader since Moses (and I suspect before) knows that somewhere along the journey people want to turn back and return to the “pots of meat in Egypt.” It happens when the journey becomes difficult, the challenges uncomfortable and sacrifices are even required. The voices of critics grow louder, grumbling increases and it’s tempting to listen.

In Tribes Seth Godin writes:

Remarkable visions and genuine insight are always met with resistance. And when you start to make progress, your efforts are met with even more resistance.

Which Elphaba discovered when she decided to defy gravity. And it’s tempting to turn back.

Once you cross the Rubicon there’s no turning back – and maybe that’s why we hesitate to fully commit.

Again, Godin writes:

The secret of leadership is simple: Do what you believe in. Paint a picture of the future. Go there. People will follow.

The future lies on the other side of the Rubicon – it’s time to cross over.

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