I know I am totally going to age myself here, but there were two video games I loved as an adolescent: "Paperboy" and "Frogger". As I navigate my way through life, both professionally and personally, this picture of "Frogger" continually pops into my head. In this post, I wanted to connect this game, to the leadership game. Please remember, when I speak of leadership, I am speaking to ALL of you! I wholeheartedly believe that leadership is earned through actions and we are ALL leaders. So this post is for all!
In my leadership journey, I have always had one goal, and one goal only...to do good. Anyone that really knows me, knows this. That's it. One, more specific "sub goal" is to support others in their journey of growth. So when I think of the game Frogger, crossing that street, is that sub goal...navigating through those waters is that ultimate goal.
Here is what I have found...this leadership game, is not an easy one. Getting across that street is hard. Getting across the water...hard. You need to be aware of everything going on within and around your goal. You need to forsee and maneuver around obstacles (that are always moving). You will get hit, you will get bitten...often. Many times, you will not understand where this is coming from. You get side swiped and perplexed. What do you do? You keep going.
Here is what I like about Frogger...when you get hit, the game isn't over. You get a re-do. You get to begin again. You can choose those next steps. You get to reflect on the course you took, and course correct. You get many tries, but your frog is always moving in the same direction...forward. Sometimes it takes a few lateral moves to get that forward moving traction, but that is where your strength and growth occurs. And just like Frogger, once you have reached that first goal, you are not done. There is more work to be done. There are a different set of challenges, the game looks a little different, but the goal stays the same. To move forward..always forward. In the "water" portion of the game, there are logs and turtles that help you along the way. They carry you across; those are important. Leaders need their people as much as people need their leaders.
Here is what I would like to change about Frogger to make it more like real life:
1) When you get hit by a moving vehicle or eaten by a creature in the water, I would like to see the frog grow. Because that is what should happen when faced with struggle or strife. Growth. As the frog grows, it should become more and more invincible. As we learn and grow, we are armed with more ideas, strategies and tools to maneuver and make change.
2) I would love for the frog to travel in a group. Leadership is NOT a game of Solitaire. If it is, it is a losing game. You are not leading if no one is following. The greatest leaders (in my humble opinion) are those that lead from either the middle or behind. They are in the mix, doing the hard work and bringing others into the fold at every turn. They are the ones helping others to see their potential and supporting them in their growth. They help others find their "leadership voice" and start them on their own "leadership journey".
Since we are all leaders, we will all encounter those naysayers, those road blockers, those that are trying to pull you down. (In Frogger, it's that little green snake between the road and the water). But JUST KEEP GOING. If you are true to your purpose, you will also pick up those that are in your corner. Those that will help you, encourage you, guide you and advise you. Those that will help you find your strength when you can't find it yourself. Those are the people that you need to listen to. It is our choice as to what/who we let take up space in our minds and hearts. WE control the dial. I know how hard it is to tune out that chatter...I struggle daily...hourly. But if we want to be leaders and help create positive change we need to always tune into the good.
The game is important work, we need you, our leaders, to keep leaping forward. The game is never over.
For those of you that aren't familiar with the game....check it out: Frogger
Mother, teacher, TOSA, GCE Level 1 & 2, Encourager of others.
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