Coffee, Sex, and Leadership
Coffee, Sex, and Leadership
The older I get the faster things seem to get outdated. I like how there are still a few things out there that will remain forever relevant. The greatest innovators of our time all shared one quality: The keen awareness of timeliness.
With someone like Steve Jobs, it is painfully obvious for technology advancement speaks to the new and improved as well as the imaginative. He wasn’t out to create a classic—but the next great invention leading to others over time. With Einstein, it was all about time in relation to matter and the universe. Would it ever be possible to time travel? I’ve seen enough movies to know that would be a disaster but also enough to know that it doesn’t seem possible, otherwise we would probably already know about it, wouldn’t we?
With someone like Walt Disney, it was about creating a classic. There was a scene in The Jungle Book where a group of vultures sing a song to the boy and it was originally set to be a current style of music, which at the time would have been 1960s. Of course, Disney saw that this would have dated the film, and changed it to barbershop-quartet style.
I’m pretty sure Mozart and Beethoven will remain “classic” centuries from now. Classic rock music like the Beatles, as much as I love it, perhaps will eventually feel dated.
Coffee, now there’s something that seems to be immortal. Sure, there will be new modifications and flavorings over time like pumpkin spice or soy milk hazelnut, but the actual bean still remains. Maybe the biggest change will be price. It’s hard to think people pay 4 or 5 bucks for a cup, but they do. Maybe in 20 years people will pay 10 bucks for a cup of Joe? Good lord.
It goes without saying that sex will remain relevant—it would be ridiculous to think that one day it would go out of style. No matter what form of media or advertising there is, sex will get attention, attract viewers, and be a major factor in culture, politics, and entertainment. Similarly, family is the ultimate relatable piece. It is no coincidence that many sitcoms out there are centered on family: Modern Family, Family Guy, The Simpsons, Everybody Loves Raymond, All in the Family, The Adams Family, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, heck even Breaking Bad was ultimately about a man who went to great lengths to support his family.
Family, like sex, will always be fair game.
Comedians like Jay Leno or Jon Stewart, as another example, will do much of their routine about their family because those jokes can and will last for decades. Leno has been doing the same jokes about his family for over 30 years—and they are still funny.
The reason why I was thinking about timeliness is because I have been thinking about leadership these days and leadership isn’t really a hot topic. No sitcom out there is about leadership (at least directly).
Leadership isn’t sexy. This is bothersome, but then again perhaps part of the appeal of it to me is the uphill battle of writing and communicating about it. Being a leader is often about being the person that goes against the grain—everyone tells you the internet will never catch on, you are the guy that says it should be possible to have it in every household. You are the guy that says “make the vultures sing barbershop style” because you look at things with a distinct perspective.
Perhaps leadership will never be sexy, but it is always relevant. A century from now we will still be talking about presidents, innovative entrepreneurs, mothers/fathers, and brilliant scientists. It will be the driving force in much of how we live and what we do, but it will carry it out from backstage, outside the spotlight. Leadership will forever be the executive producer in how we live in society, you know it is there but rarely see an interview or think too much about what it does for us.
I don’t think I will ever help make leadership sexy, but perhaps I can make it more visible or accessible. Sometimes people just need to have the opportunity right in front of their face, like serving the community, being encouraged to invent something, or getting a group to the next level in their mission. If you are a pastor of a church, for example, and you wish to create more programming and attract more members, then you find a pastor that has done this and you bring him in front of your face (or on the phone)—so he can tell you how that can happen. If you want to be a better leader, you learn from one.
Leadership isn’t easy, and perhaps that is why it isn’t sexy. Coffee is easy, widely visible and accessible. Sex is easy, widely visible and accessible (even more so now with dating websites and such).
Keeping things timeless in an age of rapid change is becoming more of a task, but those things stand out that much more. Leaders from different backgrounds may all be working to achieve very different goals, but at least in the back of their mind, they think about what they are doing in their moment of time. Despite being currently relevant, they wonder if they will continue to be in the distant future. If leadership is mainly about influence, then the voice in the back of the head is asking—how far will this influence go?
I hope as I continue to write and speak about leadership, people will find it applicable and important in some way—too many of us are stuck in the “grind” of mediocrity. Leadership gets us out of that grind, and for that we should be forever grateful. This is why I love it—and I hope you will too.
Leave your comments below about your own experiences, whether it is volunteering, teaching, learning, directing, or innovating. Let’s keep it visible and accessible… tweet me @brombizzle