Onshore America
A starry night sky.

This phrase always has held a special place for me.  It’s a great reminder of so many lessons we can lean on in dark times. 

The very first thing that it brings to my mind is the need for leaders to step up when the big problems surface.  Leadership can be easy when everything is going well.  And leaders are often charged with the responsibility to create and maintain an environment where everything is running smoothly. Everybody is happy.  Everyone likes you.  The flowers are blooming. The sun is shining.

When that’s happening, weak leaders proclaim to others how great they are.  But that’s not really the environment where we need to measure leadership effectiveness.

The reality is, except for those who are living in either denial or deception, it’s never going to be smooth sailing 100% of the time.  

Eventually, something negative is going to happen.  Often, in the best of environments, the negative developments can be just slight hills to climb and quickly the path levels out and everyone is back on a flat easy path again. 

But sometimes, you run into a mountain…

at night…

when it’s cold…,

and raining. 


You see no one else and everyone feels alone. 

In one form or another, at one time or another, we all face these obstacles.  Everybody everywhere is dealing with their own problems.  Don’t let anyone fool you.  Certainly, some have it worse than others.  Some obstacles are simply massive. Others are only made massive by panic, fear, and poor leadership.  Others still are denied, sloppily covered over, or ignored.  That tends, by the way, to only make them bigger.

But, in dealing with the darkness, there is hope and often good news.   

In darkness, you find the stars. When everything seems just bleak, dreary, and hopeless – during these dark moments – that’s when the stars come into prominence.  The stars can guide the way through the darkness. The stars become your source of inspiration, optimism, and the potential for better days ahead. 

The lessons are many.  During our toughest times it is important to look beyond darkness and focus on the sources of light to lead us forward.  The stars are a reminder that there is always a glimmer of hope and a path to follow. Think of the stars as proof of the existence of possibilities, opportunities, and the potential for a brighter future. 

If you are a leader, it’s important to be a star, but perhaps more importantly, when it’s dark, you can find out who the stars on your team are.  Some people will cower.  Some will quit.  Others will complain and exaggerate.  All of this is very frustrating.

But, just as on any dark night, a good leader will see the darkness as an opportunity to find the stars.  Who on the team is serving as the glimmer of hope? Who will be the leader emerging from the darkness to help light the way?

The darkness should give leaders a chance to be a star and an even better chance to find other stars. 


Wayne Hippo is an owner and Managing Partner of PS Solutions, a custom software development and consulting firm with offices in Altoona, PA, Pittsburgh, PA, and Wilmington, NC.
You can reach Wayne at whippo@pssolutions.net 

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