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On Creativity, Courage, and Action

Caminante, son tus huellas el camino, y nada más; caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar. Al andar se hace camino, y al volver la vista atrás se ve la senda que nunca se ha de volver a pisar. Caminante, no hay camino, sino estelas en la mar.”

― Antonio Machado, Campos de Castilla

“Wanderer, your footsteps are the road, and nothing more; wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking. By walking one makes the road, and upon glancing behind one sees the path that never will be trod again. Wanderer, there is no road-- Only wakes upon the sea.

In my leadership work, I often counsel clients on the importance of faith. This is not the “blind faith” we are taught so often to discount, but the concept of absolute certainty. Certainty is quite the opposite of blind faith. It is believing what you are seeing with your inner vision—your gut. It is having the courage to disregard what your five senses are telling you in order to walk toward the vision that’s as clear to you as the words on this screen. As a leader, you know that this path is often untrodden, laden with unforeseen obstacles, apprehension, and some missteps along the way. You also know that when you truly believe in and commit to the vision, unexpected allies, mentors, and fortuitous coincidences are strategically placed on this same path to give you the strength to persevere.

In this beautiful, poignant piece, Machado reminds us of this certainty. As leaders, we are making the road step by step. Each step creates the next step we must take. As there is no road ahead of us, only within us, we must have the courage to take decisive action when necessary and absolute certainty of the destination that lies ahead.

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