Ever seen a timid trapeze artist?!

Without fail, every workshop I lead on Leadership, I will play out the idea of the consequences that prevail when we don’t fully commit to what is in front of us. And of course, for those of you that learn differently, the exhausting list of benefits when we do fully commit ourselves to our outcome. Seth Godin summed it up recently – you will never see a timid trapeze artist! Genius observation huh? How true it is. How could they possibly be timid and successful? They simply don’t go hand in hand.

lugPlay that out in the arena of Leadership and organisations, the same is true. The moment we allow our insecurities, doubt and discomfort to inhibit us, so it becomes almost impossible to fully give ourselves to what we need to do.
As you read this, no doubt you will have a deluge of ideas sat within you, waiting to be unleashed on the world. Right? The few that you allow out, you want to be a success. You want them to resonate. Add value. Make a difference. Whip up change.

Many leaders make a fatal error. They allow the idea to slowly seep out and their uncertainty and their reluctance to be brave disables them from fully committing. The idea, unless adopted by someone else with greater courage, belly flops. And so the cycle continues.

Leadership: What is it?

I see it week in and week out. When we run a workshop and use singing as the metaphor for achieving the extraordinary, we have a room full of timid trapeze artists – well, timid singers. Many grip on to their discomfort for all it is worth. Nothing inside will give them the permission to let go. Others break that down with speed. Why? Because we quickly show them the massive gains to be made when we fully commit. Suddenly a note is sung with greater passion, intensity and meaning. An action they make suddenly begins to tell the story and enhances the affect for the audience. A breath they take means that they will be able to sing the line throughout and remain in tune. The evidence shows that when we give ourselves over to the outcome, the likelihood of success increases dramatically.

What would that be like for leaders if they were also to commit in the same way? How much more passionate would they be? How much more could the story they need to tell truly resonate? How could the call to adventure get the desired reaction?

Leadership: How can you start?

This takes a degree of letting go! It takes courage. It takes belief. It takes trust.


  1. Recognise the moments in your life where you DO fully commit to the outcome; reading bedtimes stories, playing monsters, doing yoga, running? What makes it ok in these situations for you?
  2. Choose an outcome that you want to focus on. Make sure it is something that you really want. I mean REALLY want. Get your outcome clear and compelling. Ready to take action?
  3. Now, the killer question – what belief do you need to hold, pretend or ‘act as if’ were true for you to now fully commit to your outcome? Notice how by just pretending that belief were the truth, you start to change to physiologically. Time to test it. Take the first step of your outcome and do it. Muster every ounce of energy you can.

Fully committing is a state! An attitude. A belief. The world of Leadership offers many excellent frameworks and models. They only make a difference though if you give all of yourself to apply them.

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