There I was, looking downward, my feet barely clinging to the edge of the cliff. Earlier that morning my platoon sergeant had announced that our squad would lead the commando repelling exercise. Before I knew it, I had volunteered to go first, although I hadn’t the slightest idea what commando repelling was. After all the demonstrations, getting geared up, it was time. And there I stood looking face first into the space leading to the bottom of the cliff.
My knees buckled, my confidence eroded, and my heart beat rapidly. For a split second, I decided to turn around, to wait and go next. But before I could act on that impulse, I heard my platoon sergeant below. “Don’t you dare change your mind,” he shouted.
Startled, I grabbed the rope, and ran down the side of the cliff. I made it; the adrenaline rush was huge. My self-confidence level soared. Those soldiers for whom I was squad leader applauded my success and in succession followed my lead. This exercise cemented my role as their leader; they trusted me.
When faced with doing the unfamiliar or uncomfortable, lead. You’re ready for the challenge. “Don’t You Dare Change Your Mind, ” he said. He knew what was at stake and I now so do I.