Monday, December 12, 2011

Answering the Call

Hello?
Hi, is this Doug?
Yes.  Who’s this?
This is Leadership.
Excuse me?
Leadership.
No seriously.  Quit fooling around Dave.
No. Honestly, this is Leadership. 
      [pause]
I’m speaking to an abstract concept?
Indeed you are.
Why are you calling?
It’s time.
For what?
For you to lead.
This is really strange.  I’m going to hang up now.
That’s your decision, but I would advise against it.
Why?
Because, I don’t like to call back.  Especially to someone who’s been ignoring my calls for years.
I haven’t been…wait.  Are you that strange caller ID I’ve been hanging up on?
Likely yes.  Why did you answer this time?
It felt different.
Then I’m glad I called.  Again.
Why did you call?
It’s time.
Okay – enough of this “it’s time” stuff.  If you don’t tell me…
Fine.  Let me be plain.  Right now, as a human being, you’re just wasting space.  And time.
Boy, this conversation is going great.
The problem is – you want to do more – but you don’t.
Like when?
Remember during rush when that guy in a wheelchair came by?
Josh?
Yes, Josh.  You talked with him.  You liked him.
Yeah – he was a great guy.
The rest of the chapter didn’t think so.  They didn’t vote to give him a bid.
Well, I think…
They were uncomfortable talking to him.
Yeah, maybe but…
You weren’t.
Yeah, so?
Why didn’t you speak up on his behalf?
I…don’t…
Remember last year when Mike went in front of the standards board for doing drugs in the house?
Yes.
They gave him probation – whatever that means, and the chapter went along with it.
Yeah I remember.
You hated that decision.  You wanted him removed, didn’t you?
Yes.
I saw you squirming in your chair when the decision was shared at the chapter meeting.  It looked like you wanted to stand up and shout.
Yeah, I felt…
Why didn’t you?
I…don’t…
Mike’s only gotten worse since then, hasn’t he?
Yes.
Yesterday, it was just the two of you in the lunch room.  You wanted to confront him.  To tell him to get help.
How do you know that I...
And instead you talked about sports.
I was scared to say anything.
That seems to be a recurring problem.
      [pause]
I need to get going.
Do you like where this chapter is heading?
      [pause]
No, not really.
You have some ideas don’t you.
Sure.
Why are you keeping them secret?
I’m just not sure…
…that they will work?
Yeah.
That they will be received well?
Yeah.
If you will look like a fool?
Yeah.  No wait, I mean…
I like fools.  Those who dare.  But with a purpose.
Well I’ve never been called daring.
What exactly have you been called?
A good guy.  A good behind the scenes guy.
Translation: mostly invisible.
That’s not fair.  Groups need behind the scenes guys.
Wrong.  They need guys who can work behind the scenes.  They don’t need guys who live there.
So what are you saying?
Come out of the shadows.  Step up more often. 
       [pause]
I just don’t…I mean…I don’t get it.
Remember – this is Leadership.
Yes.
And I’m calling you.
Yes.
Are you making the connection?
No.  Wait…yes...but why me?
Why not you?
I don’t know.  I don’t like stirring up controversy.  I’m kind of a quiet guy.
Stop.
But…
Stop with the excuses. Why are you a member?
I like the people, and the ideals.
They both need help.
But nobody has ever told me that I am a leader.  I’ve never been given the chance…
Listen, if I wanted to go to a pity party, I would have called someone else.
I don’t want to be the President.
Leadership is not about position.
What is it about?
Influence.  If you don’t want a title, that’s fine.  Support those that are elected and lead from within. 
I just…well, what do I do?
Simple.  When you feel that desire to speak up, do it.  When you feel pressure to shrink backwards, step forward.  There are critical moments in every day in which a person can choose to lead or choose to be silent.  Notice those moments, and make the choice to lead more often.
I doubt it’s that easy.
You think those things are easy?  If they were, I would never have to call guys like you.  
What’s the catch?
Catch?  If there is one, I guess it’s that you do have to pay with your life.
Excuse me?
I’m sorry- that sounded ominous.  I mean, by answering this phone, you have agreed to let your life change.
How?
Simple.  You’ll be noticed now.
What if they don’t listen to me?
Some won’t.  Find the ones who will.
I’m nervous.
I never call anyone who wouldn’t be.
I probably will screw up.
We all do.  At least this time you’ll have good reason for it.
I’m not sure what to do.
You’ll figure it out.  The hard part is over.
What’s that?
I called.  And finally, you answered.