Are We There Yet?

I got to see the Killers in concert this past weekend with three of my sons. It was a great show, and it was great spending time with my sons. We drove to Ft. Worth, and I was thinking about the trips we took when they were younger and they would be impatient for us to arrive, tired of the trip and too young to realize they should cherish even the journey.

The Killers sing a song titled, “Running Towards A Place”. Brandon Flowers sings these words:

Give me the eyes that I may see
The good in my people and the trouble in me
Give me the hands that I may lift
The weight of another who’s starting to drift

Then he asks a question that it sometimes takes age and experience to understand:

And if we’re running towards a place
Where we’ll walk as on
Will the hardness of this life
Be overcome?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. Life is not about finishing; it is about continuing. We can move continuously toward our goals as individuals and as a community, but we will never be done. This is doubly true for leaders.

You’ve probably heard about a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. In a way, these are like the difference between my sons as young boys and now as men. Before, they were about getting to a place. They were impatient and in a hurry. The trip was something in the way of the goal, something to be endured and gotten through with as quickly as possible. That’s a fixed mindset.

A fixed mindset sees intelligence and talent as fixed and unchangeable. For them, the processes we experience are unimportant since they cannot lead to changes in one’s ability or capability. In contrast, the growth mindset sees intelligence and talent as qualities that can be developed over time. For them, the journey is critical as it provides opportunity for development. In fact, even failure, since it is only a temporary setback, leads to growth.

Getting back to the Killers. We have a goal at Kimray to be a community where we care for each other and treat everyone as equally valuable. Sometimes, the obstacle to this is within me, not in the uniqueness and differences of those around me. If I have a fixed mindset, I will see others as “capable” or “incapable” and will struggle to believe they can change significantly. The problem isn’t whether they can grow; they can. The problem is whether I will believe it.

In rehab I learned, “When I am disturbed, the disturbance is in me.” This is just another way of saying my own views and limitations often become the trouble I see in others. The problem isn’t them; it’s me. As leaders, we are never going to be “there.” We are always going to be moving in the direction of a goal where our own bias, prejudice, and misunderstandings no longer prevent other people from growing and experiencing their best life.

I loved the show the Killers put on. It was even more special to share that experience with my sons. However, I cherished the time we spent driving, getting gas, eating, walking to the venue from our hotel, and even getting Whataburger at midnight after the concert. It was in all these moments that we were doing life together. Leaders should never ask, “Are we there yet?” We know the answer is “no.” We also know that the journey is where we grow and develop into the best versions of ourselves, and where we really experience The Kimray Way.