The Wall ensures we only get the very best from you

After months or years of pushing and grinding and sweating and editing and sacrificing and moving and changing and waiting and deriding and pleading you think you have finally finished. You think you have finally done all that could be done. You think every box has been checked, every stakeholder has been assuaged, and every detail has been accounted for.

And as you sprint through the forest with only the last drops of adrenaline and hope fueling your weary soul, you see something in that beautiful, sunlit clearing. At first it looks like the finish line tape stretched taught across your path. The end! Finally!

But then, as you get closer, you see that it is actually a wall. The wall. Every really hard (and usually worthwhile) project has the wall. The wall is that final challenge that seems insurmountable only because of your exhaustion. “Well, fuck this!”

The wall, which does nothing, has crushed many souls. These people quit the marathon at mile 22. “After everything I have gone through, it’s simply too much to handle.”

But the wall serves a critical purpose. It keeps others out. Others who aren’t as committed as you. Others who aren’t as invested as you. Others who won’t do everything it takes to exact the kind of change the world needs.

It imperfectly, but enthusiastically ensures that the world only gets the very best from you. That we only get the very best from you.

When you say you will do “anything, everything” you are saying that you are willing to make that final push when every ounce of your being says quit. Don’t say it lightly, because the wall can make you a liar.

You have a big project going on right now. Likely the wall is still ahead. But it’s different now. You know the wall is ahead. Keep going. 

by Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan is the Head Coach at Sandcastle Company, a Seattle-based leadership training organization. His first book, Future Leader: Rebooting Leadership to Win the Millennial and Tech Future [link], is now available. Jonathan regularly writes and speaks about The New Leader Way, leadership resilience, and the future of work. He has years of leadership experience in both the public and private sectors, a master's degree from Seattle University, and professional coach training from the University of Miami.

Filed under: Leadership

Published on December 19, 2018

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