In her book, The Tale of Wolf, His Snake Oil and a Skunk, Lizabeth Phelps shares a fable of the Wolf and Skunk. It provides a powerful insight into the importance of thought leadership in the lives of great leaders. In the fable, a lone Wolf is met by a sage in the form of a Skunk.
“Heading back to The Land of the Living Dead, are you?” the skunk asked.
“There’s no such place in these parts, I’m afraid. We’re in the Promised Land.”
“Well, no, actually, that’s incorrect.”
Wolf could easily have tossed the skunk to the side and carried on–but something stopped him. Rather than ignore the bait, he took it. “Okay, then tell me, where are we?”
“As I said, you are in The Land of the Living Dead. But you don’t know it. No one there ever does. Inhabitants go about their business fully unaware that they are dead.” The striped animal, who was carrying an odd toy rocket ship, began studying it nonchalantly. “The Land of the Living Dead is an invisible trap. No one knows when they enter it and because of that, they never get out. I am hazarding a guess that you have felt trapped lately?”
Wolf certainly did feel trapped, but his reasoning mind protested the overall concept. “There are no walls. No locked doors. No nets,” he presented logically.
“None are needed in The Land of the Living Dead. Something far more dangerous traps those within.”
Once again, Wolf snatched the bait. “And what is that?”
“The state of ‘Good enough.’ Business is not growing—but it is not dead, either. Because of this, you, and all the others, optimistically barrel along, holding on to your dreams, all the while consuming resources, blinded by the myths perpetuated throughout the lands. Dead but unaware of being so. Unable to smell the stench, so to speak.”
Phelps writes that thought leaders see the traps that are invisible to others—individuals, groups and organizations who live within them. Like the boiled frog analogy in which the frog boils to death because the water grew hot so gradually that it didn’t notice enough to get out, these invisible places create states in which “good enough” is accepted as the status quo, truly becoming The Land of the Living Dead. She argues that the job and responsibility of great thought leaders is to see these traps and to make them visible to others through persuasive dialog and passionate inspiration.
Bring your passion and vision to those whom you serve and touch… to see with new eyes, to visualize new possibilities, to dream dreams undreamed. Help them find their Promised Land.
Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!