Ultra (beyond usual and ordinary) leadership is the willingness to push toward new horizons. Combine that desire in a leader with the skills to get people to engage and contribute their best, and opportunities abound. Leadership of this type is an heroic act in that it represents a life-long undertaking of a daily experience of pushing past our own limits and the limits presented by the systems in which we work. Every manager has an opportunity to exhibit ultra leadership. Many do not take that opportunity.
Author Joseph Campbell wrote, “The hero’s journey is one of the universal patterns through which that radiance shows brightly. What I think is that a good life is one hero journey after another. Over and over again you are called to the realm of adventure; you are called to new horizons. Each time there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There’s always the possibility of a fiasco, but there’s also the possibility of bliss.”
The hero is willing to go to the edge and push farther, over and over again. The best leaders share this willingness to disrupt the status quo. The best and most courageous leaders embody the hero’s nature. They are driven and called to new horizons. These leaders understand the possibility of failure, but turning back or maintaining the status quo is not an option. Every day, in every meeting and every interaction, we are called to ultra (beyond usual and ordinary) leadership. In every moment, the question remains: Do I dare?
What does it look like? If you can answer yes to these questions, you are on your way.
Do you dare to use personal power rather than authority to engage others?
Do you dare to step in and lead when you encounter a void?
Do you dare to encourage others to stretch beyond what they believe they can do?
Do you dare to be vulnerable and be seen as vulnerable?
Do you dare to step into uncertainty?
Do you dare to push the limits?
Your people are counting on you to accept the dare, to undertake the hero’s journey, and to go beyond usual and ordinary. Show them who you are.