Country Music and the Danger of Success

I read an interview with country singer Eric Church recently.  One of the things I love about him is that he seems to be maintain a focus on writing and independence in a musical genre that has become mechanistic in churning out pop-country hits that could all be on the same record.  In the interview, Church was asked simply, “What’s the best part about success?”  His response is a lesson in tension:

“The freedom to do what I want musically. The mistake a lot of people make is the more success they have, the safer they play it. That’s wrong: I think the more success you have, the more dangerous you should play it.”

The success of leadership is no different.  I remember, almost five years ago, as my wife and I decided we would take the leap of planting our own church.  From the ground up.  Just a dream and good intentions.  I remember saying to her, “I’m terrified of failure, and I’m terrified of success.”

In a world where success for leaders is often a legendary unicorn, when we feel like we’ve achieved something good, or even great, the tendency is to back off.

But what if success is the opportunity to jump into more danger?  What if these moments where we finally feel satisfied as leaders with the performance of our team or the movement of our organization are actually moments to press harder into uncharted territory?  What if success is the fuselage of risk?  Could it be that in those moments the greatest thing we can do is leaders is say thank you to whoever or whatever got us there and then invite them to the next adventure?

I wonder, for you, where’s the danger zone you need to step into today?

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