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The Excitement of Becoming

Last week I visited the LBJ Library here in Austin. President Johnson was a fascinating man — charming, ruthless, colorful, a little crazy, and the man could get things done! There was a movie that told a brief story of his life, featuring people close to him trying to explain to who he was and what drove him. Towards the end an image came up on the screen — a black and white photo of him standing at a window, a dark shape against the white daylight flooding into the room. His head was bowed down and it looked like the weight of the world was on his shoulders. The voiceover talked about how tortured he was by the decisions he made and burdens he had to face. Then the movie ended with this quote:

“It is the excitement of becoming – always becoming, trying, probing, falling, resting, and trying again — but always trying and always gaining…”
―Lyndon B. Johnson

I love this quote because I think leadership development is a journey of becoming — becoming who we were meant to be, becoming more fully ourselves — and it comes with a lot of trying and falling and gaining and falling again. It is exciting to see what unfolds and to witness and work with leaders who have the audacity to put themselves out there and risk being vulnerable and risk falling so they can become something more. I recently saw researcher and author Brene Brown speak and she said “if you live a brave life you’re going to fall”. If we’re not willing to fall we’re not going to try much. She posed the question “Will you choose courage over comfort”? Today, where can you choose courage over comfort?