May/June 2005  


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On the Vagaries of Leadership
By Michael Gerber,

What a dismal day it was yesterday.

Nothing went right.

Everyone seemed to be stuck in emotional glue. Sticky, sticky, sticky.

Imagine yourself in a dream, walking on fly paper, pulling one foot up, and then another, the glue not letting you go. See yourself moving in slow, slow motion. That's how it felt to me, trying to disengage everyone from their sticky, sticky place. And it seemed like they just didn't want to make the effort. They simply wanted to go to sleep. Well, that's not true, I'm being too generous here they did just want to go to sleep. To sleep in the past. To sleep in the past of our business. To sleep in the comfort of our old, old bed.

But I wanted something different. I wanted to get everybody up!

I wanted to open the windows, open the doors, throw out all the old furniture, tear up the carpets, strip the floors down to the concrete, and scrub, scrub, scrub.

I wanted to create something new, something bright, something we hadn't seen before. I wanted something fresh. And I wanted them to see it without making me work too hard to get them interested.

"Wake up," I felt like shouting. "Get out of bed!"

And frankly, that's the worst job in the world. Trying to wake other people up; trying to get them out of bed, when all they want to do is sleep. Sleep. Sleep. "Go away," my son said this morning when it was time to get ready for school. "Mmph!!" my daughter said, to no one at all, when I turned on the lights in her room and said, "Good morning!" with the most courage I could muster for the distasteful task ahead.

"Mmph," my people muttered yesterday.

Yes, leadership is a soup pot of vagaries.

And all I wanted to say was, "Who gets me up?"

But of course, no one would be listening.

Michael Gerber is chairman and founder of E-Myth Worldwide. He reminds you that the opportunity is to go to work ON your life not IN it, and in the process to experience the sweet, radiant, extraordinary joy of the fully-lived moment. His Web site is