Have you ever been offered a job that seemed too good to be true?
One organization chased me for years, wanting me to take on the role of their creative director. The job would have required me to uproot my family and move again… this time out of LA… away from where I believed I was meant to be.
After each polite refusal these guys would offer more money and bigger perks.
Their last offer was kind of crazy…”They would pay me $150k per year plus a large deposit on a house of my choosing and all I had to do was be an influence over the creative team… I didn’t have to do any specific work or show up at any given time…
“Please… just live amongst us!”
I said no… It was just too good to be true.
This type of offer comes from a self centered boss person. From someone who is used to getting everything on his or her terms.
Unfortunately, most community leaders behave like this and the hired person, once accepting the new position must sacrifice personal dreams and often many strong natural giftings to fit into the ‘vision’ of the leader.
The square peg must be reshaped to fit into the small round hole.
There is however another type of leader… the one that washes the feet of his followers and makes a way forward for them to flourish in their natural giftings. Like the fisherman who evolved into a fisher of people. Then there was the tent maker who developed into a master builder of other leaders of like-minded communities.
It seems a simple and almost obvious leadership model… it is one to which I aspire.
Since moving to the US I have been offered quite a few similar jobs from various leaders… some of them well known (or notorious). Each would share their gigantic vision… which always entailed an emphasis on the creative and (more often than not) the sales pitch included something like “The Lord told me that you were to move to my (fair) city and partner with me to build this glorious vision (etc)”.
What do you say to… ‘The Lord told me’?
On one such occasion… after I had played a concert, the second in command of a large franchise took me out for a coffee and then presented, what he felt was a job offer of a lifetime… and before I said no… and out of (marginal) interest I asked what the position entailed.
With great enthusiasm this second in command described the most ill fitting job I could ever imagine… it was really better suited to someone with administration and organizational skills… which… if anyone knows me… will be forevermore… laughable. Not only am I not gifted in these areas… but when they are thrust upon me I get heart palpitations… panic attacks… I break out in sores… I run to the hills and hide in caves.
And here lies the foolishness of man. These leaders liked what they saw and or heard on stage but they didn’t understand the ingredients inside the performance… or inside me… nor did they value the cost of all that it took to get me to this place. The times spent wandering the desert, the cherished moments alone in the forest, the 10,000 hours of practice and collaboration with other creatives… all the lyric and melodic experiments and the happenstance discoveries of songs and stories.
It remains a mysterious process, this creative journey and to keep doing what I do on stage or in the studio… most of all I need space… to be me.
And these guys wanted me to be ‘creative on demand’… while working as a store room clerk.
Before I said a polite no to the offer I asked the good gentleman why he and his boss wanted me for the position… and he said…
“you seem to have so much freedom in your music and we want some of that freedom to seep into our music and our community”
And I thought to myself… what a wonderful world.