Thursday, August 4, 2011

One of the First Steps of Any Successful Venture: Taking a Stand

Last week Carl wrote a piece about what people stand for. If you listen to any leader throughout history you will hear them talk about their stand. You may disagree with them. However, you will appreciate they are standing for something bigger than themselves and are courageous enough to enlist others to support their stand.  

Similarly, if you listen closely to those around you, you will hear what they stand for. There is no escaping that. We all stand for something, even if we are unwilling to admit it in public. And we enlist others to support our stand.

At the same time, if you ask most people what they stand for, they will have no answer. They may even say they never thought of that before. Or that is something leaders think about. Yet, what we stand for shows up in our lives everyday.  If you look at the way people handle life, it can tell you something about what they stand for. Listen to how some complain about things while others constantly challenge themselves to accomplish projects that require them to be a greater person than they have been in the past.

When I work with clients, I notice that once they are clear about what they stand for, their actions and life become more purposeful. Instead of waiting for a sign to show them what their purpose in life is, they start to live on purpose – they live on purpose, not for a purpose. They successfully make up and adopt their stand. 

The ugly truth is that most of us stand for something that will never empower us or others. Some of us have never considered it. We live in a world were it is held in high regard to be the victim. As long as we can prove some perpetrator did us wrong, we can justify some action that is disempowering.  In fact, entire communities or races feed off of being the victim. The victim role frees us from having to do something about it. Unfortunately, it is a trap.

Without question, it is a trap that closes in on everyone at some point, regardless of race or gender. If you feel you have walked into this trap, you can ask yourself two questions: 1. What do I stand for? 2. Do I stand for something that empowers me?

Who are you becoming without a stand? Maybe that was the unspoken question of Carl’s piece last week. Who are we becoming? What do we stand for? What will the next generation say about us? If we play the role of victim, we will miss the opportunities even when they are screaming at us. Once the answers to the above questions are uncovered, the last question is, what are you going to do about it? What future are you willing to declare such that it requires you to take actions you have never taken before? I have no interest in sounding Pollyanna. Except, possibility really is infinite. With a stand, bold declaration and courageous actions you can make the future what you say it will be.

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