The story I am about to share and the strong warning that I am giving is a little bit off the beaten path of what I normally share on leadership. However, I feel it should be shared. It’s an important reminder for all of us.
Leaders in politics, religion, business and in many other institutions have made mistakes throughout history. Some have been more serious than others. One of those categories of mistakes I want to strongly warn all of us about today are mistakes of a moral nature and specifically those that lead to broken homes, broken hearts, mistrust and spiraling addictions.
Let me first share with you a powerful old fable told of a farmer and snake.
It was getting very cold as the farmer returned from tending to his sheep in the high pastures.
As he carefully and quickly descended down the steep path trying to get to his warm house he encountered a snake.
“Help me pleassssssssse” the snake whispered as he shivered. “Please take me down the path with you to a warmer place.”
“Ha, I am no dummy.” the farmer said. “I know who you are. You are a rattlesnake! If I pick you up you will poison me!”
The snake assured him he would not saying, “I promisssssssssse you if you carry me down the mountain to a warmer place I won’t bite you. I promiseeeeeeee that you and your children will be safe from my kind from thisssssssss day forward.”
The farmer believed the snake, picked him up and put him in his backpack. When he got down into the valley he carefully took the snake out and laid it upon the dirt path. As the snake began to warm, it coiled up and stuck, viciously biting the farmer in the leg.
“Ouch! You promised me you would never bite me,” the farmer cried.
“Ah,” the snake said, “sssso I did. But you knew what I was when you picked me up.”
Most leaders who have made the grievous moral mistakes of infidelity, fraud and substance abuse, to name just a few, knew what it was before they “picked it up.” But for some reason they were able to initially rationalize and justify their behavior. Possibly they bought into what others were telling them.
For one reason or another they believed they would never be bitten. But as is almost always the case, they were; families were broken, positions resigned or terminated and trust was lost; to name just a few of the potent consequences.
Warning! Not one of us is shielded from such bites if we choose to pick up the snake. We will struggle with any kind of solid defense as its potent fangs sink deep into our lives.
The best thing to do is never get near the snake in the first place. Stay far away. Never resist the temptation to listen its lies; instead choose to avoid all together.
Question: Do you know others, or have you yourself ever been bitten? What were the consequences? Would love to hear your stories if you are willing to share.
If you enjoyed this post and would like to share it with your team, colleagues or anyone else, please “Share” it, “Tweet” it, “LinkedIn” it, “Email” it, “Google Plus” it, or “Like” it, by using one of the buttons below. Thanks friends!