Cowpokes and Farmers
Then one spring, a famous drummer came to my hometown to do a clinic. I was excited to see him perform. I watched closely to see how he managed to play so powerfully and effortlessly. At this point of my career I was having some success and playing very well but wanted to get to the next level of excellence. I remember watching this drummer start to play and over the course of the clinic slowly realizing that I was never going to be able to accomplish the astounding level of playing this drummer was displaying. I walked out of the auditorium and broke down in tears. In a moment, I understood the dream I'd had for all these years was the wrong dream for me.
Of course, the two categories aren't mutually exclusive. Most of us are a healthy mix of the two. Over time, I've discovered that I'm a farmer … with cowboy tendencies. One of my mentors helped me understand the distinction between an "intrapreneur" and an entrepreneur. Rather than blazing new trails, I like to work within a context. I like to work within a framework, but I'm open to where it will go. Cowboys will jump without the net. As a farmer, however, I like to know where I'm going to land.
As a result of my journey of self-discovery, I now have the freedom to celebrate others and cheer them on without feeling like they're a threat. I believe our team works best when we are celebrating the farmer-leader and their consistent care, creativity, and vision for the territory God has given them. We also thrive when we acknowledge the cowboy leader who rides off into the unknown. But we only reach our true potential when diverse leaders are celebrating each other and cheering each other on.
We all have farmer and cowboy elements in us: we all want to see growth and change in our community. In that process, the farmer reminds us of the beauty that's already here, but the cowboy shows us beauty in places we hadn't thought to look.
Steve Norman and Danny Cox serve at Kensington Church, in Troy, Michigan.
Copyright © 2014 by the author or Christianity Today/Leadership Journal.
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