We are creatures of story. We live our lives surrounded by stories. We live our lives by being in them ourselves.
Sometimes we are the protagonist and hold an acclaimed title role. Sometimes we are the villain. But, in most circumstances, we are simply supporting actors, “stock” characters in the middle of someone else’s story arch.
And I think that’s okay. You see, our goal is to manage our own small (yet important) role within our own story. It is fundamentally ours, we own it and we have more influence than we ever dared to imagine.
It’s scary, but true.
A year ago (can’t believe it’s been that long…!) I left The Iron Yard and my good friend penned a humbling tribute for my time there as a leader. As I had mentioned at the time, the pleasure was all mine.
Eric, today, sent me this picture above because it’s that time of the year again – another All-Hands meeting with the staff and boy has the team grown. Peter, the CEO, was telling the founding story of the company and managed to snag a picture of me to include – it’s always awkward to see yourself blown up 100X on a big screen, isn’t it?
But perhaps what is more awkward / amazing is to realize and to see your “baby” grow up and, despite the inevitable bumps and bruises, do as good (if not better) while you’re gone.
I’m a proud papa and I am so proud of the team and what they (not me) have accomplished. It’s a great group of folks and I count many of them as close friends. They’ve killed it. Congrats to Peter, Eric, and the rest of the team for a smashing job well-done.
But, I’ll admit. It’s hard to swallow and to see pictures like this. There is a story, now, that’s being told about that company that I’m not a part of and I’m sad to be missing out on many of the great and important things that they are doing. Clearly, I still believe in the vision and mission of the company and the work is important, life-changing stuff.
I’m a “supporting actor” now, or, rather, a stock figure in a much bigger universe and story for The Iron Yard and although I’m fine and more than happy with that reality it still causes me a little bit of heartache.
This is probably because the people were so good to work with and the time that I had was memorable, visceral, and deeply personal.
I choose the right people to work with at the time and I optimized for relationships, not ambition. That was the right choice then and if I were to do it all over again it would be the decision I would make today.
No regrets, not then and not ever, and that’s a story that I can live with.
[Thanks Eric for sending those pics and I’m not sorry for sharing that one pic of you. LOL.]