V´aclav Havel

V´aclav Havel

The real test of a man is not when he plays the role that he wants for himself but when he plays the role destiny has for him.V´aclav Havel

For movie buffs, it is one of the most memorable scenes in movie lore. Harold Francis Callahan, the lead character in Dirty Harry portrayed by Clint Eastwood, has just killed two bank robbers. A third bank robber (Albert Popwell) lies wounded on the pavement near a gun. Callahan approaches him with his .44 Magnum and delivers the line, “…you’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?”

The movie ranks 51st on 100 years…100 Movie Quotes for the line Callahan delivers. But for all of the recognition Eastwood received for the role, he was not the one originally cast for the role. Initially, Frank Sinatra accepted the role but eventually backed out due to a hand injury. Burt Lancaster also turned down the role.

As for other famous movies it is interesting to note that W.C. Fields passed on playing the role of Wizard in The Wizard of Oz. Fields wanted $100,000 and MGM offered just $75,000. Cary Grant turned down a role in James Bond, Bette Davis turned down the role of Scarlet O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, Daryl Hanna turned down the role of Vivian, in Pretty Woman, and Al Pacino turned down the role of Han Solo in Star Wars.

Someone once said, “Be willing to give up all that you now are to be all that you can become.” And that is what leaders do. As some actors vacated roles that were handed to them, others stepped up and became stars. The journey of leadership, as in life, is not always predictable. How you respond will determine the role destiny has for you. Consider these three points of destiny as you set the course of your leadership development.

The unexpected; dare to embrace it. In his new book, Nearing Home, Billy Graham shares about his early ambitions in life. His dream was to be a professional baseball player. But there was a greater role that destiny had for him and baseball was not it. While baseball is certainly an honorable profession, the calling upon Billy Graham’s life was a higher one.

An inability to embrace the unexpected can make the difference between a promotion versus a raise, a large new account versus one small sale, or a life that touches millions versus a life lived in the shadows. If the unexpected is treated as an interruption and not seen as an opportunity, it will hold you back. Embrace the unexpected; it could be your blessing in disguise.

Your uncertainties; rise above them. After a devastating fire swept through his lab, no one would have blamed him if he decided to give up and pursue another career. When found in the midst of the rubble the fire left behind, he turned to his son and said, “There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew.” And start anew is what Thomas Edison did. Three weeks after the fire, he managed to deliver his first phonograph.

Whether your uncertainties are born out of tragedy, your imagination, or by skepticism placed upon you by others; your destiny is within reach when you rise above your doubts and conquer your fears. Shakespeare was right when he said, “Our doubts are traitors and cause us to miss the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.” The first step towards achieving your destiny as a leader is making the attempt.

The unimaginable; you can live it. In the book, Halftime: Changing Your Game Plan from Success to Significance, Bob Buford writes, “Most people never discover their ‘one thing.’ But part of what is so unsettling about approaching the end of the first half of our lives is that we know it is out there somewhere.” The unimaginable is the dream you have that will elevate you beyond the traditional definition of success to a more purposeful life of significance.

Regardless of the role destiny has for you as a leader, I am a firm believer that you can achieve it. When you embrace the unexpected, overcome your doubts, you can live the unimaginable. The reach of your leadership rests in the power of the beliefs.

Have you embraced your destiny?

© 2011 Doug Dickerson

Doug Dickerson is an award winning columnist and leadership speaker. He is the author of the book, Leaders Without Borders: 9 Essentials for Everyday Leaders. A Lowcountry resident, Doug is available to speak for your civic, business, or church group. Visit www.dougsmanagementmoment.blogspot.com to learn more.


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