How to Keep the Bridge of Life Strong and Stable
This week a bridge suddenly collapsed in Genoa, Italy. 39 precious souls perished.
That’s not supposed to happen. Bridges don’t collapse.
The problem? “It had integrity issues.” Integrity means “sturdiness, stability, solidity.”
Leaders are not supposed to collapse, either. In the news, however, we repeatedly hear of pastors, priests, politicians, athletes, movie stars, executives, schoolteachers, and a host of “bridges” that fail.
Does that mean you won’t ever drive across another bridge?
Here is how I look at life's “bridges” that suddenly fall:
1. Bridges break under a non-stop load.
- One of America’s leading automakers was shocked this week when their leader admitted to working 120 hours some weeks. He practically “lived” in his factories 3-4 days at a time. He said he can no longer neglect his family and children.
- Leadership is a LOAD. Thousands (or even millions) of people “cross over” the mind, heart, and hands of leaders in their lifetime. Small cracks in character enlarge over time until the structural “integrity” of that leader suddenly snaps.
2. Leaders can become corrupted.
- The Genoa bridge collapse smacks of corrupt politicians and underhanded contracts. Mafia involvement is suspected. Shoddy construction eventually catches up over time.
- Money, power and fame can corrupt. Once “sturdy” leaders gradually begin to “rust.” There is no greater example of this than Satan himself who famously became corrupted by his great beauty and power.
3. Leaders sometimes take shortcuts.
- Many aircraft failures are traced back to one simple part. Cutting corners for time or budget can be disastrous. This is part of the investigation into the Genoa disaster.
- Lies, hidden failures and ignored warnings finally catch up to a leader. Their marriage, their kids, their health, their money may all appear sturdy but underneath they are VERY flimsy.
Who can we trust?
1. Leaders who stay BALANCED.
- The bubble in a level can easily get out of balance. It can slip outside the lines. It can even go so far to one side it disappears. The bubble is not wrong, the door frame or picture frame is.
- As high profile leaders, Melanie and I constantly worked to keep the “bubble between the lines.” We tweaked our marriage. We corrected our kids. We stayed in the black financially. We listened to those we were accountable to. If you constantly watch the bubble and make corrections, it will never disappear!
2. Leaders who stay GROUNDED.
- The “dream world” of leadership lifts you above the clouds. You feel free, floating above the cares of life. That’s a dangerous feeling. You may have drifted away from your own roots, your own values and upbringing.
- Stay grounded. Stay relatable, touchable, normal. Sweat, work outside, fix your garbage disposal. Shop for groceries. The more REAL you are (instead of fantasy), people can trust you and feel the sincerity of your soul.
I’ll keep on driving over bridges. Every now and then one fails. I still choose to trust bridges…and leaders.