My best friend and I were exchanging girlish squeals of excitement at seeing one another, our usual greeting of the last twenty five years, and one that her eldest teenage daughter imitates with perfect pitch and intonation. On this occasion we were slightly amplified by our delight at the extraordinary good fortune of finding ourselves in the same city on the same time for our regular Tuesday evening talk, a weekly ritual that we’ve observed, without fail, only missing two or three nights annually, for the last ten years. I was in town for a speaking engagement, she was vacationing with family. And we were going to sit and talk in person. A gift.
But two minutes after walking through the door of my hotel suite, she asked us to pause. I knew what she meant.
My best friend is the person who has most closely witnessed my journey of the last eight years, watching my life go in to a blender when my long marriage dissolved and I exited the business that we’d built. She saw me at the beginning, wrestling with self-doubt at the enormity of creating an entire life anew, (can I really do this??), to coming out on the other side and continuing to aspire.
And as she took in the grandeur of the hotel suite that had been reserved for me, she was asking to mark that place in time and, in so doing, acknowledge all of the moments that had brought me there. She was asking me to step back, to look at the arc and its trajectory.
Magnificent Leadership™, it turns out, is not a solo journey.
You don’t need 200 friends and acquaintances. You need one person who sees and gets you, who knows what events mean in the context of your life. Someone who will remind you of the vision you hold for yourself when it becomes eclipsed (because it will, from fear or doubt, or exhaustion, or distraction, or any number of things that obscure our own light from us).
Sometimes vision-holders are friends. Sometimes they’re spouses or teachers or clergy or parents. And sometimes a vision-holder is someone like me, trusted and strategic, whose sole interest is in accelerating your ascension and trajectory.
Don’t despair if you haven’t yet found a vision-holder, they’re somewhat rare. But do keep an eye out.
It makes all the difference.