Mustache March

I took a risk. I committed to 40 days…enough time to create a new habit in my life. Unfortunately it didn’t take.

It was more than a personal commitment, it was a leadership decision. However,
depths of leadership are revealed by example.

What happens when you lead by example with less than stellar results?
When the sky of ridicule and abandonment falls?
When you’re betrayed by those closest to you?

My recent 40 day journey brought me answers to these questions and more as I stepped forward with the risk of personal harm.

I decided to grow a mustache.
I proclaimed openly it was Mustache March.
I invited EVERYone I encountered to grow a mustache.

What I learned:
I can’t grow a mustache.
A lot of men have their identity wrapped up in facial hair.
So do a lot of women.
Men care more about their appearance than you would think.
My best friend wouldn’t grow one.
People I don’t know started growing one.
Mustache March is a growing movement (see
Mustaches can be hipster or not hipster depending on the style.

What people said:
“I can’t grow a mustache, seriously I look like a junior higher going through puberty.”
“No, I’m not the cop from The Village People.”
“Why are you growing a mustache again?”
“You’re growing a mustache?”
“I tried, but it looked like I just ate a sugary donut and didn’t wipe off my lip.”
“Uh, well, I have a meeting…a wedding…a thing…”
“I’ve never grown a mustache, are you kidding?”

What I won’t forget:
Approachability: Dozens of people started conversation out of the blue because we had a place to start.

Laughter: When you feel safe (because everyone is laughing at someone else) you open up.

Camaraderie: Everyone knew something was happening and joined in as family…even the women on our staff wore mustaches for a day.

Pride: Even as a huge joke, knowing I can’t grow a mustache and that I’m quite secure in myself…I still found myself wondering why I couldn’t influence more people.

Removal: The sheer joy and relief and freedom and complete bliss found in the 18 seconds of shaving the random growing hairs from my upper lip.

So, in the end…a few notes:

  1. Don’t grow a mustache again
  2. Leading alone, can leave you alone
  3. Leading by example, can leave you with lasting impressions
  4. Never underestimate the power of your influence

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