The great Italian painter and sculptor Michelangelo is credited with having said, “The greatest danger for most of us is not that we aim too high and we miss it but that we aim too low and we make it.”
Transformational leadership means going for breakthroughs – going beyond what has been done before or what anyone else expects might be possible. It means aiming high and going for it. Too many people just calculate what they think is a realistic achievement and then go for that. But that’s just maintaining the status quo. Transformational leadership means tapping into the greatest potential waiting to unfold and going for it, even though it may feel like a huge stretch or you don’t yet see how you’re going to get there! I’m not talking about irresponsible risk, but rather about listening to “what wants to happen” in the greatest possible service of all, and being willing to trust that if you follow that potential, it can show you the way. In the end, even if you don’t make it all the way to that huge goal, you and everyone involved in the project will learn and grow, and the result will still be bigger than if you had just settled for a predictable result. Everyone will benefit.
The human soul yearns to stretch, grow, learn, and experience its greatness. It wants to experience what it is like to reach its greatest potential. Therefore, the soul will not engage in “aiming low.” The soul loses interest quickly with “business as usual.” Too much going for the predictable result or playing it safe means that the soul stops engaging. And when soul stops engaging, you no longer feel a sense of meaning or connection to what you are doing. There is no passion or drive. And when the meaning, passion, or drive of the people is gone, the project will ultimately not be sustainable. Not only will transformation not happen; in fact, the energy for the project and perhaps even the organization will begin fading. The life force drains away.
What does this mean for you and your projects? Where are you aiming low to be safe and just getting the job done or doing what is required? And where are you stretching yourself beyond perhaps even what anyone thinks is possible because you sense a greater potential is there? Where are you willing to take risks to serve a greater good in a bigger way? You may notice that you come alive in a whole different way when you are aiming high and going for the gold.
Don’t get seduced into the safety zone. If you want to make a difference in this world, aim high and go for it!