My daughter requested Harold and the Purple Crayon before bedtime recently. It had been a challenging day, during which we both struggled to contain our frustration with the others’ lack of understanding. Why could she not listen and put on her shoes when I asked? Why could I not let her follow her impulse to play instead of demanding we get in the car already?
As the story of the boy and his adventures unfolded, I became aware of a theme: each moment in our lives presents a choice. Harold draws a straight path for himself (so as not to get lost), then decides to veer off in a different direction. After frightening himself with the dragon he’s created, he finds himself submerged in the ocean and quickly creates a boat that sails to shore. He is quick thinking and open to possibilities. And at each turn, he makes a choice that affects whether he moves ahead or gets caught in the turmoil.
It was a pointed reminder that not only do we get to choose how we respond to each challenge and opportunity, it is our job as leaders to make that choice consciously and well. What if instead of choosing struggle I chose gratitude? Or laughter? Turns out laughter doesn’t get us to our appointment any sooner. But I have a partner in getting there, and we’re smiling when we arrive.
Who are you butting heads with? And what choices can you make about how to manage yourself and that relationship?
I'm interested in what keeps us engaged in our work, the world, and each other.