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
Subscribe to my YouTube page!
Subscribe to the MT2Leadership newsletter