Xavier is pursuing his dream to travel the length of Africa in his old Land Rover Defender. As someone with Cystic Fibrosis, his aptly titled mission, Defender of Dreams Expedition, is to produce a documentary that will raise the profile and awareness of the condition for a global audience. This was anything but a linear progression from idea to reality. He has dealt with all kinds of obstacles, starting with his own health. He embraced the reality that because of his Cystic Fibrosis, his days may be numbered fewer than many of us. He has set about doing something amazing with the time he has available. He has a steely determination to change the world through his example.
Xavier has been tempted to give up on the dream to travel to Africa which he conceived with his best friend seven years ago. When his friend passed away shortly afterwards, it seemed like a crazy idea and almost impossible to do alone. But he eventually embraced that obstacle and saw the trip as an opportunity to honour his friend. A constant obstacle he faced was his own mindset. He had to back himself to embark on such a journey into the unknown. What has kept him going has been the desire to demonstrate to people with Cystic Fibrosis and to everyone else that we can pursue our dreams if we embrace the obstacles.
Transforming obstacles has everything to do with success in leadership. Navalent conducted a 10-year longitudinal study of executive performance to learn why 50-70% of executives fail in the first eighteen months of promotion into an executive role. They found that 76% of new executives indicated that the formal development processes of their organisation were not helpful in preparing them for their executive role; 55% indicated that they had minimal, if any, ongoing coaching and feedback to help them refine their ability to perform in an executive role; and 45% indicated they had minimal understanding of the challenges they would face in an executive role.
Xavier has demonstrated something important for us all, not just people with Cystic Fibrosis. Leaders who are attempting to change the game within their sphere of influence will face many obstacles. Game-changing leaders embrace obstacles as a way of learning the new mindset and skills they need to achieve their vision.
Are you embracing the obstacles?
Best regards, Brian
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