Are you taking a chance on an emerging, young leader?

One of my favorite conversations to have with people as well as enjoy speaking is regarding “turning points” or “defining moments” in one’s life.  I generally challenge people to identify 3-5 key defining moments in their life.  For most emerging leaders, one of their defining moments tracks back to a time where someone took a chance on them.  Somewhere along the line, someone in a leadership position looked at them and said, “this kid’s got potential.  I’m going to give him an opportunity to lead.”

Well, in my personal life, one of those first defining moments comes from today’s video.  Yes, back in 1986, Head Coach of the South Putnam Eagles HS Football Team, Mark Wildman, under much criticism, took a chance on Chris Arnold.  Coming off a semi-state season the year before and graduating one of the school top passing quarterbacks, there was a decision to make in 1986 as to who would be the next quarterback.  I had been back-up quarterback for a couple years; however, was primarily know as a starting defense back.  Several in the community doubted whether “Chris Arnold could play high school quarterback”.  Coach Wildman “took a chance” and put me in this leadership role.

Well, the rest of the story is history.  This video clip comes from a celebration following SPHS’ winning the 1986 IHSAA Class I state championship in football.  As I’ve told thousands to this day, this is at the point I discovered that I was a leader.  It’s also at the point I discovered the importance of working together as a team versus individual efforts.  Coach, I know I’ve told you before; however, I’d like to say “thank you” once again!

So, how about you?  Who gave you your shot?  Are you giving someone that same opportunity today?

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