Day 4 – I am Leaving the Campfire Behind

Day 4 – I am leaving the campfire behind

One of the things we love to do when we set up basecamp is we build a campfire. I talked about stepping off the trail and setting up a basecamp yesterday. This creates, what appears to be, a safe zone; a place to hang out. Before long, other travelers come up the trail. They ask me, “what am I doing?” I tell them, “I am on an adventure of a life time.” I point out the mountain and I can tell them all about how to get there. Most of them thank me and head on up the mountain. I return to my campfire and relax. I helped someone today – I pointed them the way – job well done.

Other times they ask about the campfire and my basecamp. “Can I join you?” Of course, I answer. Before long, I have a gathering at my basecamp. The circle around the campfire grows and we become very comfortable in our sitting. It seems, I am now the leader of the campfire gang.

We know everything worthwhile is uphill and I want to be around ‘uphill people.’ I dream of climbing uphill. I find myself, however, around campfire people. I find myself sitting in my comfort zone and not growing. But, they’re my people… I feel responsible for them as they asked to join my campfire and I am their leader. How can I abandon them? The truth is, you can’t lead a campfire, you can only manage a campfire.

If I try and leave, they get upset and hold on to me. How dare I leave. Am I too good for them now? They complain that the only reason they are at the campfire is because I am at the campfire. It’s my fault, not theirs. When I ask them to come with me, they insist that it is cold and dark away from the campfire. It’s dangerous over the hill – Lions, Tigers, and Bears – oh my… They prefer to stay where they are – and thy prefer that I stay with them.

I did this for 18 years in my last job. I sent thousands and thousands of soldiers up a mountain that I had climbed years before. I was a trusted guide. But, I could not go up the mountain with them, so I returned to my campfire and my team and waited to show the next group the path.

I needed a new mountain, my own mountain. So, three years ago the job ended, I left the campfire and started wondering in the forest looking for my mountain. I found it with JMT but I also found another campfire here at home and, before long, I had another team of campfire people looking up to me.

But, it is time. I must leave my campfire friends behind. I must go in search of ‘uphill’ friends to share the trail with. This is hard. To turn away from up-turned faces and out reached-hands that do not want to help or be helped; they simply want to hold on. My final words. “I am leaving the Campfire behind – come with me…”

Marshall Townsend II

President and CEO

Marshall Townsend 2nd Leadership

Independent Executive Director with The John Maxwell Team


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