Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Answering the Call of Your Holy Discontent

I receive hundreds of emails a day with questions covering a broad spectrum of subjects, ranging from corporate strategy, technology architecture, leadership and everything in between.

However, one email this morning made me stop and think.

While it was quite lengthy, the person I will only identify as John in New York City asked me this:

Why do you do what you do and why do you do it with such passion and conviction?

John was referring to my passion for tackling things that needed to be addressed in the world instead of taking the safe, quiet road that many prefer to travel.  After all, he notes:

… with your strong belief in the unlimited good in the world, isn’t it more rewarding and easier to simply write about the good stuff than to be always be contemplating the stuff that needs to be fixed.

I agree with John that it is VERY important that we embrace the great things we see in the world and to promote the great people, results and events we see all around us.  By doing so, we take comfort in knowing that the world is a much more positive, inspiring place than the media would have us believe.

However, I see all of the great stuff as a teaser, as something to multiply in both effort and results.

So when I see 10 strong leaders who inspire organizations and people, I want to see 1,000 more just like them.

When I see us feed 10 hungry people, I’d like to fill the bellies of 10,000 more.

When I see technology used to enhance society, I want to see it amplified to enhance society all that much more.

While promoting great people and results is VERY important, oftentimes the only people who hear the message are the ones already achieving great results or the ones who would like to accomplish something similar but they believe they cannot.

In such instances, the ones who need to hear the message or need to be shown how to share their gift, whether it be one of hope, inspiration, knowledge, love or making a difference in the world will not receive what they need; that which allows them to share their gift in the greatest way possible.

When this happens, many of the hungry remain hungry.

Many of the corporations in need of stronger leadership continue to produce less than optimal results.

Society continues to not embrace technology as effectively as it should for the betterment of all.

Governments continue to lose sight of the fact that they exist for the people and not the other way around.

We all pay the price for this, which is why we need to own the solutions.

We need to shine a bright light on those who inspire us, who teach us and who encourage us to stretch ourselves constantly to make a difference in the world.

We need to thank them and honor them.  But we need to remember as we honor them at various functions that it’s like preaching to the converted.  Those present are already making a difference. We need to reach out to the unconverted, to help them see a better way also.

And so I wonder if the best way we can honor those who inspire us is to improve upon their execution and results - to make an even greater difference in the world with the gifts that we have.

If we rest on our laurels (or someone else’s), we can take comfort in the fact that someone has made a difference.  We can and should always be proud of what has been accomplished.

But we should remember that there are still many great things remaining to be accomplished, despite the message from many people that everything is “under control” and “your help is not needed”.

Passionate people executing with conviction often make people feel uncomfortable.  However, if we choose the comfortable route and don’t strive to stretch ourselves for the betterment of others, our greatest accomplishments will remain undiscovered.

And so, John in NYC, this is my Holy Discontent (as noted in the great book by Bill Hybels).

For all the things I have managed to accomplish with the help, inspiration and support of so many wonderful people, there are still so many people who need help. 

With this in mind, I believe that we need to:

  • passionately ask intelligent questions
  • challenge ideas that have room for improvement and growth
  • collaborate aggressively
  • share unconditionally.

We need to move forward with passion and conviction to make the greatest difference we can with the time we have remaining.

And remember this:


The results of everything we do become our ultimate legacy.

There is a quote incorrectly attributed to Charles H. Duell, Commissioner of the U.S. patent office in the 19th century where he is alleged to have said "Everything that can be invented has been invented."

If we believe that everything that can be done to improve the world has been done, then we should stop trying to make a difference now.

However, I don't believe this is the case.

Do you?

In service and servanthood, passionately.


To see my Musings-in-a-Minute version of “Answering Your Holy Discontent”, please click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment