Improvise and Stretch – One Early Lesson in Leadership

improvised repair for a broken trekking boot

There are times when you simply just have to make do.

One leadership guru calls this skill the ability to Stretch.

Essentially, when push comes to shove, our brain gives us an increased ability to utilize our creative juices to improvise.

As a young girl, I would complain with frustration about a lack of available resources. To my dismay, my dad would almost always reply something like: “Just look around you, girl, and see what you can find.  Improvise, girl, improvise!”

Back in the 1950’s, my then 24 year old dad, with four children under age four, had been laid off from work during slow times at the railroad. Unfortunately, the family car had also broken down.

With “four hungry mouths to feed” he said he stopped and looked around for what he could find to make do. And with a popsicle stick and a rubber band he made the necessary repair to the car’s generator (yes evidently cars had generators back then), so that he could drive his family 250 miles back home to our grandparents and extended relatives.

This ability to improvise and stretch from scarcity to abundance is an important leadership and life skill.  It requires being  resourceful and creative. Can you be mindful enough to improvise when resources are not available? Will you trust your inner wisdom to know what to do?

Every good leader knows you must be able to improvise. When resources are scarce, you must trust your inner wisdom and creative juices.

This is also the wisdom of trusting you already have enough, know enough, and are enough.

 


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