Now there are all sorts of ways you can employ leadership.
There will be those that will lead by supporting from underneath and pushing from behind. Developing, nurturing, mentoring and building others so that in time, they begin to learn and embrace their potential for growth, achievement and success through self-leadership.
Some will lead from the front. Assume the point. Tug, pull and cajole the uncertain, the afraid and the uninitiated. Inciting them and urging them to believe in themselves. That they can and should expect to achieve great things. That more often than not, if you can simply go one step more – good things are right there for the taking.
Or, like this one, you can stay right beside someone.
Joined at the hip.
Like many of the other young men I have had the privilege of knowing over the years, we too have a football connection.
Though it might have begun with Cardinal and led us to where the conference champs reside over there on Mequon Road, we are also connected in another way.
It takes a certain kind of person to play on the O-line.
Certainly, you have to have the build for it. But more importantly, you have to be built for it.
Aside from being the best-looking guys, and the brainiest to boot, there is one more important distinction.
Not only do you have to be sturdy enough in a physical sense do some of the heavier lifting. But in a mental and emotional sense, you must carry the team.
Being at your best each moment. Putting everything on the line, every snap, so that others have the opportunity to fully deploy their talents and perform to their maximum capacity.
Not to suggest that this unit is any more important than any other or are due any greater accolades. It takes everyone to make a team go.
But when you earn your keep on the offensive line, that is just the way it is.
Now things can get hairy out there. At times, the pressure can be suffocating. Mentally taxing. Emotionally draining.
And when you get waist deep into October – everything hurts.
But as a center, guard or a tackle – like Chris – that is your sweet spot.
Being joined at the hip.
You are made to thrive in those close quarters.
And out of necessity, you learn to read one another.
To go Jedi – as it were.
Communicating. Whether through a call, a grunt, a glance or a nudge.
Capable of transmitting a broadband message to your line-mate like: “I got your back.”
Or – detecting the distress call. A plea for help. And signaling right back, “Hold on, I am coming.”
When it comes to the game of life – you might encounter a circumstance where there is team building and leadership development going on from the foundation on up.
And in other situations, there might be, friends, cohorts, associates and business teammates trying to pull others both forward and through from the front.
But in the final analysis, the greater mass of true and lasting mentor leadership yet remains right where this one is content to earn his keep.
Joined at the hip.
Chris’s sweet spot.
While getting that close and personal might make others squeamish – he is right at home with that kind of physical, mental and emotional proximity.
He just simply leans into it. Just be ready when he does – if you know what I mean.
He is a young man who is well suited for a line of work aimed at helping others to get to the center of it all.
Blocking out the distractions, working past and onto the next level.
Through a smile. With a joke.
A grunt. A glance. Or a nudge.
Capably transmitting his message to others: “I got your back.”
His senses recognizing and responding to another’s call of distress.
“Hold on – I am coming. “
Chris knows first hand that in order to tackle some of life’s most pressing challenges, you have to know just how to let your guard down.
Using a smile, a joke or the tonic of laughter to help break through barriers.
Never feeling trapped by the issues holding one back. Using a genuinely personal tack to get to the center of it all.
Inspiring others to tackle their doubts and aspire for success in their own lasting and meaningful way.
An exemplary brand of leadership by example that will serve him well.
One that will help encourage others to let down their guard.
One that is built for carrying more than his share of the weight.
One guided by a willingness to put it on the line.
In a life joined at the hip.
On behalf of the Mequon-Thiensville Optimist Club, I would like congratulate Chris Malicky – Troop 865’s newest Eagle Scout.