Thursday, March 14, 2013

My Agenda: Setting the Record Straight

I find it intriguing to observe how people have reacted to my recent blogs about politics in Alberta, particularly “Damaged Teams – A Product of Broken Leaders”.

Many people leveraged my blog to describe governments within their own context, whether at a provincial, state or federal level, which I found fascinating.

A lot of people applauded my audacity.

And a few people were sharply critical (some offensively so) regarding how they thought I described certain politicians (or their heroes, as some people described the subject of my blog).

As I reflect upon the responses that I received, it occurs to me that both my supporters and my naysayers would benefit from some insight into my personal agenda.

Core Principles

First of all, contrary to what some people believe when they read my material, I don’t feel that it is my calling to change the world.  In fact, I don’t even think that I have the right to change people, which in turn would make it difficult to change the world, wouldn’t it?

However, there are some principles that I am wired to embrace, namely the importance of improving the human experience and getting closer to our collective potential.  I see this being built upon the ideas of respect, honesty, compassion, transparency, authenticity, serving others, knowledge sharing, sharing in general, give-and-take dialog and the like – tied together with facts, sharp strategy, measurable outcomes and intelligent, flexible tactics and executed with passion and audacity.  As a long time Wall St. and Fortune 25 strategy advisor, I have seen the best and the worst when it comes to such principles.

Embracing Life in this way produces some very interesting reactions from people.

People who are insecure regarding their own sense of purpose or who drive covert agendas that are not as presented feel very uncomfortable around people like me.  They see people like me as a threat to their agenda and will do anything to shut us down.

Others see my audacity as a “hero thing” and they cheer me on, praising my efforts to make the world better.  Some send their passions to me in an effort to exhort me to drive their life purpose.  They think, incorrectly, that they don’t have what it takes to accomplish their purpose.

My Heroes

Speaking of heroes, here are my heroes, the people who inspire me to be a better person.

1. The brave servicemen and servicewomen who put their life on the line to protect democracy and who for the most part are strangers to all of us yet offer themselves up anyway.

2. First responders, including firefighters, policemen/women and EMS, people who put their life on the line and oftentimes are left to themselves to mentally relive horrors as well as victories.

3. Healthcare workers

4. Educators

5. Most politicians, many of whom make significant personal sacrifices in regards to family, personal health and such to try to make the world a better place.

6. Parents, striving to do the best they can to raise children in a world that is a balance of complex challenges and infinite beauty.

Unsung Heroes

And then there’s many unsung heroes, people like Mark Hundley, bravely leveraging difficult experiences in his own Life to help others overcome grief and mourning, Leonard Szymczak, helping people rediscover a sense of purpose through what he refers to as the Guiding Power of Spirit and Dr. Jack King who dares us to believe that the power of love alone is sufficient to build a better society.

We are in fact surrounded by heroes.

To be open to being inspired by such heroes creates an interesting Life. Sometimes it means being in the right place at the right time to prevent a suicide (The Importance of Conversation).  Other times, being open to the Universe attracts people who seek your help to find a long lost dad just to say thank you (Creating an Oprah Moment).  Sometimes it means sharing some very personal stories in order to encourage others to overcome self-perceived shortcomings (Overcoming Your Demons and Mitt Romney, Bullies and Red Herrings).  Sometimes it’s a long distance dedication to someone who needs a little hand-up (Entrepreneurs – A Long Distance Dedication and  A User’s Guide to Passionate People).  Sometimes it means just saying thank you (Tribute to a Mentor).

And oftentimes, it means standing up to people  and calling things the way they are, whether it is the dishonesty of people, covert agendas, incompetence that endangers others, standing up to bullies and intimidators, people who don’t respect the rights of others and the like.  There are too many blog entries for me to reference in this category. :-)

The latter sure riles up a lot of people, to be sure.  To call things the way you see them invites interesting responses from the insecure or those with less than ideal intentions and includes taunts, threats and a plethora of responses and suggestions that cross the lines of ethics, morals and even legality.

A Man of Faith

I am also a man of faith.  I don’t pray for world peace, that I or anyone else be cured of some condition or anything similar.  To do so would be to suggest that I believe God is a short-order cook, existing to fulfill my needs exactly when and how I need them.

I am not that audacious!

I pray daily for three things:

Wisdom – to help me understand the world and my role in it

Courage – to help me make the right choices as I participate in the world

Strength – to help me persevere when acting on the first two items makes me feel like I am swimming against the tide

I also cheat a little now and then and pray for a fourth thing:

A hint – not the answer to the things that challenge the world but a hint that someone is listening to the prayers and needs of the many wonderful people in the world who need a little help now and then.

And maybe the final item would best summarize what motivates and guides my actions.

It’s to help those who for some reason or another feel that they don’t have a voice or that no one hears their voice.

They cry out for a hint, for a message from the “quiet voice” that someone out there is listening and cares about them, their families, their society and their planet.

And for me, like many others, that produces a compelling calling that simply can’t be ignored.

A calling that says that a beautiful world doesn’t just happen by accident – that it takes wisdom, courage, strength, audacity, service, leadership, passion, compassion, collaboration, intelligence, faith and love to create the world at the potential that we are capable of creating.

Sometimes the calling invites us to gently poke the world to get a response.

And sometimes it calls us to apply a cranial defibrillator to others in order to wake them up.

I like to do both with passion, with respect, with audacity and without apology.

I wonder if answering the calling does not serve the intention to improve or change others but instead, by answering the calling, we are improving ourselves and inviting the world to change as a result.

Have you ever felt such a compelling calling?

How did you respond to it?

Create a great day, because merely having one is too passive an experience.

In service and servanthood,


No comments:

Post a Comment