Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Stewardship Revisited

In July of 2008 as I crossed the US, I found myself musing about stewardship and the gifting of our time, talent and treasure to those who really need it.

The musing is here for those who are interested.

Recently I was thinking about the people I encounter who have a wide spectrum of interest and understanding regarding stewardship, ranging from a light curiosity to a maniacal, passionate desire to maximize their stewardship results.  As I thought about their definition and manifestation of stewardship, I found myself doodling on an index card about a better way to express stewardship in a way that was brief, easy to remember and hopefully impactful.

As I doodled, I thought others might be interested in my musing as well and so I share the picture that resulted. 

I would like to thank everyone who reviewed this picture.  In particular, I would like to thank Leonard Szymczak ( who reviewed it and pointed out two key components that I missed, namely the development of love and community through stewardship.  Thank you, Leonard!!

Feel free to share this picture as long as you do not use it for professional or revenue generating purposes and as long as you give full credit to me as outlined on the diagram.

Click on this image to magnify it.


In a world that sometimes seems insane (at least according to the media), it is important to realize that the practice of stewardship benefits the giver, the recipient and anyone who observes an act of stewardship taking place.

Given that everyone benefits from acts of stewardship, wouldn’t it stand to reason that in this case, we can’t get enough of a good thing?

As I noted in my earlier stewardship article, many of us are phenomenally blessed with gifts made up of time, talent and treasure in a blend that is unique to each of us.

Maybe we can make a point of being a better steward of those gifts.  Wherever we can, we should take a "no prisoners" approach to our stewardship efforts, motivating ourselves to share the incredible wealth of gifts that I know each of us has and manifest this sharing with a sense of urgency.

As far as time is concerned:

  1. We start out with a fixed amount of time allotted to us
  2. Once time is used, it cannot be recovered
  3. We don't know how much we have left.

We always hear the phrase "live every day as if it is your last".  Today may actually be your last or mine.

Let that notion put a sense of urgency into your stewardship plans.  That is our obligation as participants in the universe.

In service and servanthood.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Creating an “Oprah Moment”

I receive hundreds of emails every day, many from people who are soliciting me for money, ideas or something else that they are in need of.

Many of the solicitation emails are from complete strangers and most of those get deleted pretty quickly.  We can’t help everyone.

Some time ago, I received a message from a complete stranger and as I read the message, I did not experience the desire to automatically hit delete.  In fact, as I read it, something in the back of my mind told me to sit up and pay attention to this.

It wasn’t the way it was written.  It had nothing to do with the subject.  However, something in the message resonated with me and I decided to dig deeper.

The author of this email tells an incredible story.  It is a story of a woman living in Germany in the 1960’s who was in a situation of relationship battery.  She was rescued by a knight in shining armor whom she fell in love with.  Her knight, who was stationed in Germany with the US military, was transferred out of Germany and went to serve in Vietnam.  She never heard from him again.

However, she discovered that she was pregnant and gave birth to a son. 

It was her son who reached out to me.  He is now a strong family man himself who runs his own company in the US. 

He is hoping to find his father, to say thank you for being there for his mother during her time of need.  He seeks nothing other than to express gratitude for giving him life, a life that he expresses gratitude for on a regular basis.

Why did he reach out to me?

The man he seeks is Harry Tucker.  He has been reaching out to all the Harry Tuckers he can find with the hopes that he can find “the one” to whom he can express his gratitude to.

Something told me not to delete this email.  I did my own check of this person and found that his story appeared to be legitimate.

I felt a strong calling to help this man and a friendship ensued.

I think he was just as surprised to find a complete stranger who wanted to help him as I was that I felt so strongly to help him.  :-)

In the course of using my network to find the other Harry Tucker, I have become reconnected with people I haven’t spoken to in over 30 years.  I have also been connected with other incredibly passionate people who are adding to my life in so many ways as we all become gripped with the desire to find the other Harry Tucker. 

As we make progress towards finding this guy, I am witnessing something else.

I am watching love and kindness develop between a bunch of complete strangers over a story and a group of people who could just as easily mean nothing to us.

We are creating what I like to call an “Oprah moment”, the type of thing we often see on shows like Oprah where a bunch of people find their heart seized by a purpose-filled calling and they go for it for reasons they can’t explain.

Sometimes the story is the classic reunion of long-separated people that causes the viewers to cry and laugh as they watch and listen to the story of seemingly impossible odds that were overcome in order to create the Oprah moment.

Are we heading for an Oprah moment with this story?  I sure hope so.  Nothing would make me happier than to see these two men embrace and to tell their story.  All I can say for now is that the sequence of events that have transpired since this gentleman and I have connected are beyond simple coincidence.

I believe we are being guided by a Higher Authority who seems to be guiding us in an interesting direction.

The way this manifested makes me realize that there are many Oprah moments developing all around us.  In some, we are being invited to answer someone else’s call.  In others, we are hoping someone will answer ours.

In either case, there is an unlimited pool of connected, intelligent, kind, loving people waiting to help manifest these Oprah moments.

In a world where the media wants us to believe that everything is falling apart, including human values and virtues, I believe that the reverse is true.  I believe that human values and virtues are alive and well.

What stands out is what we choose to focus on.

If we believe the world is filled with hate, violence, disrespect, distrust, lack of faith and people focused on destroying everything of value, then we are right.

However, if we think that the world is filled with love, kindness, faith, respect, trust and people committed to offering a helping hand to those in need, then we are right also.

We attract and create that which we believe in and embrace.

The Universe is constantly sending us signals of potential Oprah moments.  Whether they manifest or not depends in large part to how receptive we are to these signals and whether we take action once we have received the signal.

Remember how those Oprah moments always make us feel good when we see them or read about them?

Imagine how they’ll make us feel when we are participating in one.

C’mon …. make the rest of us cry and laugh and feel good about humanity by embracing or creating one.  Let’s open ourselves to feeling the love that envelops us when our heart is seized by an Oprah moment.

Right now.

Our beautiful world has an infinite supply of potential Oprah moments.

There is at least one within each of our spheres of influence right now …..… waiting.

We need to be alert and receptive to them.

Once we are there, we just need to step up and participate in them.

Yours in service and servanthood.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A User’s Guide to Passionate People

Para leer este blog en español por favor pulse aqui.

I have been humbled and blessed by the responses to my previous blog “Check Your Passion at the Door”.  I thank everyone for responding with such passion.

One of the things that was interesting with the responses were the number of people who resonated with the blog and up to the point of reading the blog, were afraid to turn their passion loose.

With that in mind, I thought it would be interesting to produce a user’s guide to help people understand passionate people – whether they are the passionate person or they work with a passionate person (in either case, doubting their sanity or the sanity of someone else).

Some immediately apparent things about passionate people.

Passionate people ……..

1. Often drive us crazy with their insatiable energy and tenacity (that’s ok – they think they are insane sometimes also).

2. Are maniacal in purpose and may disturb us by being more focused on the objective than we are – and the objective is ours, not necessarily theirs.

3. Aren’t very good at accepting “I don’t want to do it”, “I can’t do it”, or “We shouldn’t do it”.  In fact, forcing that on them will convert the passionate person into a testy, passionate person.

4.  Are difficult to debate because they have every angle covered (much to our chagrin and frustration).  They can actually debate us into a corner using our own data and logic and so we eventually respond with anger – we have nothing else left to defend our position.

5. Are impatient, having already figured out (at least in their own mind) what the solution is and wonder why no one else can see what they believe to be obvious.

6. Can be frustrating to work with because of their singular focus on solutions.

7. Do everything to extremes, to the admiration and chagrin of others.

8. Are direct or blunt in a world that suggests that directness hurts too many feelings.

9. Are easily frustrated with a world that doesn’t engage at an energy level acceptable to them.

10. Flash to anger quickly but calm down quickly also.  Time is too short for grudges although their anger, when visible, is intense and sometimes frightening.

11. Put their foot in their mouth with fair frequency.  They aren’t afraid to try something new with little data, which can make them seem reckless.

12. Are quick to point out discongruence and inconsistency – they are the child who yells out that the emperor is not wearing any clothing (not always a welcome action when we want something to quietly disappear).

13. Have imaginations that can be frightening in breadth and depth, all the while being extremely creative (sometimes unnervingly).

14. Are naturally curious and like to explore things from all angles.  Having done so, they may come up with a lot of suggestions for just about anything.  They are all about unlimited possibilities, which can frighten some people.

Sounds rough, doesn’t it?  Let’s explore passionate people a little deeper.

Passionate people ……..

1. Love to collaborate, inviting others to participate in their projects.

2. Love to learn and ask a lot of questions (even if that makes us feel that they are questioning why we did something, when in fact they are learning, not judging).

3. Love to share – projects, life experiences, stories – anything.

4. Laugh easily and frequently.

5. Weep for others – more than we know (even the perceived tough guys).

6. Have hearts that are afflicted by everything they see, gripped by the need to do things for others and seized by a sense of urgency that seems to disrupt our “slow and steady” world.

7. Are more delicate and easily wounded than people realize, although they shake this off quickly because they know that someone else hurts more.

8. Seek solutions to everything, even when it is none of their business or outside of their sphere of influence.

9. Look up at the sky when no one is looking and ask “Why me?”

10. Pray to a Higher Power for strength …. sometimes they ask for help … sometimes they plead …. sometimes they yell.

11. Know that to try to fix something is better than to look the other way.

12. Expose their heart and inner spirit to many people at their own risk.  To do so creates an opportunity for trust – not as common a trait in the modern world as it used to be.

13. Are often unusually perceptive, which is not always welcome or often makes people feel uneasy (since none of us wants to feel stupid).

14. Are disarmingly transparent.

15. Are perpetually restless, always alert and thinking, which is not always welcome in a world where fresh ideas often expose apathy, indifference or incompetence.

16. Seem to reach out to us just when we need someone – how do they do that anyway?

17. Are more humble than we realize – we are too busy criticizing them to notice their humility.

18. Often offer help unconditionally with no strings attached.

19. Either have a passion that burns very deep and silently, with occasional manifestations (public or private) or are in a constant state of visibly manifesting their passion.

20. Don’t exercise their passion for obvious rewards.

How about the world that the passionate person lives in?

Passionate people ……..

1. Believe that every problem has a solution and that they shouldn’t give up until it is found, exhausting people who prefer to go find something easier to solve.

2. Believe that the world is filled with the magical, not the mundane.

3. Often feel alone because they absorb a lot of negativity or abuse by leading the way with their passion, often venturing into unknown or dangerous territory.

4. Have a lot of people who want to ride their coattails, as these people are afraid to turn their own passion loose and prefer to let someone else take the risk.

5. Experience a personal journey that is not an easy one.  There are no shortcuts.

6. Sometimes wonder, after they have helped the world, why it is that when they cry out for help when they are overwhelmed, nobody answers the call.

7. Live in a world that often misunderstands the motives of the passionate person.  After all, why would someone put so much energy into something or someone seemingly not important to them?

8. Have experienced many things, which is why they have a passion to help others.  They may not always share their history, their painful moments or their victories but they have them.  Don’t tell them they don’t understand unless you know they don’t – they may have experienced more then you ever will.

9. Have led or are leading very busy or complex lives that blow our minds.  How do they find the time to do so much for others?

By why do they do what they do?

They do it because they are wired to the core with love – an unending, abundant supply of love that they absorb from everything around them and which they channel to those who need it – even when the person receiving it resists it or doesn’t understand why someone would do such a thing.

Passionate people are a conduit for love.  They don’t hold it in – they allow it to flow through them.

They have too much love to contain within.  This love needs to find a home or the passionate person will explode with unfulfilled purpose.

They are intent on other people experiencing this love in different forms.  They want to help others feel it, incubate it and share it with others.

Sure, passionate people can drive us crazy.  But whose fault is that; the passionate person or the person who fails to recognize how this limitless energy can be used - the phenomenal potential created by the passionate person?

Remember – splitting an atom correctly can produce electricity for a lifetime – doing it poorly produces a nuclear explosion.

The atom is just sitting there, filled with potential.  It’s what we do with it that produces a positive or negative result.

I wonder if we need a 12-step program for passionate people.  It’s not to help them quash the energy that runs deep within them.

It’s so that they can share that which fuels them with others who have a passion inside that has yet to be released. 

It’s so that they can help others ignite and free the passion that yearns to find fulfillment in each of us. 

Once that passion has been released and allowed to flow, each of us would be invited to step into world that we would perceive in a different way.  A world filled with possibilities.  A world filled with opportunities to live passionately, to love unconditionally, to learn, share and to leave a legacy to others.

Maybe passionate people aren’t so bad after all.

What do you think of such a 12 step program?

I’d like to open the meeting.

Hello.  My name is Harry and I am a passionate person.

It is very nice to meet you.

Yours in service and servanthood – passionately.


Dedicated to some very passionate people, some of whom haven’t completely unleashed their passion on us.  God help us all when they do.  :-)

  • Jonathan S.
  • Leslie G.
  • Roberto L.
  • Casey W.
  • Jim G.
  • Richard G – rest in peace, my friend.
  • Barry G.
  • Mac P.
  • Shauna S.

Para leer este blog en español por favor pulse aqui.

La Guía del Usuario de las Personas con Pasión

To read this blog in English, please click here.

He tenido la fortuna y bendición de recibir muchas respuestas a mi post anterior “Check your passion at the door” (Deje su pasión a la entrada). Y quiero agradecer a todos por responder con tanta pasión.

Uno de los aspectos que resultó interesante sobre las respuestas fue el número de personas que se identificaron con el post y hasta llegar a leerlo completo, pero tuvieron miedo de liberar su pasión.

Teniendo esto en cuenta, pensé que seria interesante elaborar una guía del usuario para ayudar a la gente entender a las personas apasionada – tanto en que sean una persona apasionada o que trabajen con una persona apasionada (en cualquier caso, con dudas sobre su estado mental o la salud mental de otros).

Algunas cosas inmediatamente aparentes de las personas con pasión

Las personas apasionadas.....

  1. A veces nos vuelven locos con su energía y tenacidad sin limites (eso está bien – ellos a veces también piensan que están locos).
  2. Son maníacos respecto a su finalidad y pueden molestarnos al estar más enfocados en el objetivo que nosotros – siendo el objetivo nuestro y no necesariamente suyo.
  3. No aceptan de buen grado “No quiero hacerlo”, “No puedo hacerlo” o “No podemos hacerlo”. De hecho, forzarles a ello solo convierte a una persona con pasión en una persona con pasión nerviosa.
  4. Son difíciles de rebatir porque tienen todos los aspectos cubiertos (muy a nuestro pesar y frustración). En realidad, pueden vencernos debatiendo utilizando nuestros propios datos y lógica de forma que responderemos con enfado – no nos dejan otra opción con que defender nuestra posición.
  5. Son impacientes, ya que al menos en su mente, ya han llegado a la solución y se preguntan sorprendidos porqué nadie más puede ver lo que es obvio para ellos.
  6. Pueden resultar frustrantes en el trabajo debido a su enfoque singular a dar soluciones.
  7. Hacen todo hasta el extremo, para admiración de algunos y envidia de otros.
  8. Son directos o contundentes en un mundo que dicta que el ser directo daña demasiadas sensibilidades.
  9. Se sienten frustrados con facilidad en un entorno que no se compromete con un nivel de energía o compromiso aceptable para ellos.
  10. Estallan con enfado rápidamente pro también se clama de igual manera. El tiempo es demasiado corto para rencores aunque su enfado, cuando es visible, es intenso y a veces da miedo.
  11. Meten la pata con bastante frecuencia. No tienen miedo a probar algo nuevo aún contando con pocos datos, y esto puede hacerles parecer ser temerarios.
  12. Son rápidos en destacar incoherencias e inconsistencias – son el crío que grita que el emperador no lleva ropa (algo que no siempre es bienvenido cuando queremos que algo desaparezca de forma discreta).
  13. Tiene una imaginación que puede asustar, en su alcance y profundidad, a la vez que son extremadamente creativos (a veces en demasía).
  14. Son naturalmente curiosos y les gusta explorar las cosas y asuntos desde todas las perspectivas. Una vez que lo han hecho, pueden realizar multitud de sugerencias sobre casi todo. Estas personas piensan en posibilidades ilimitadas, que puede asustar a muchas personas.

Suena difícil ¿a que sí? Vamos explorar a estas personas con un poco de profundidad

Las personas apasionadas.....

  1. les encanta colaborar, invitando a otros a participar en sus proyectos.
  2. Les encanta aprender y hacer muchas preguntas (aunque esto nos haga sentir que cuestionan por qué hicimos algo, cuando en realidad están aprendiendo, no juzgando).
  3. Les encanta compartir – proyectos, experiencias vitales, historias – cualquier cosa.
  4. Se ríen con facilidad y frecuentemente.
  5. Lloran por otros – más de lo que creemos (incluso los supuestos tipos duros).
  6. Tienen corazones que se afligen por todo lo que ven, sintiendo el impulso de hacer cosas para otros y atrapados por un sentido de la urgencia que parece romper nuestro mundo “lento y estable”.
  7. Son más delicados y son heridos con más facilidad de lo que muchos piensan, aunque se desprenden de este sentimiento rápidamente porque saben que otro está aún más herido.
  8. Buscan soluciones para todo, incluso si no es asunto suyo o está fuera de sus competencias.
  9. Miran al cielo, cuando nadie les ve, y se preguntan “¿porqué yo?”
  10. buscan en un Poder Superior fuerza....a veces piden ayuda....a veces suplican.... a veces gritan.
  11. Saben que arreglar algo es mejo que mirar hacia otro lado.
  12. Exponen su corazón y espíritu interior arriesgándose. Hacen esto para crear una oportunidad para la confianza – algo que no es tan común en el mundo moderno como solía serlo.
  13. A veces son perceptivos de forma inusual, algo que no es siempre bienvenido o que hace sentir a la gente incomoda (ya que a ninguno nos gusta sentirnos estúpidos)
  14. Son completamente transparentes.
  15. Son perpetuamente inquietos, siempre alerta y pensando, algo que no es fácilmente aceptado en un mundo donde las ideas nuevas y frescas ponen de relieve la apatía, la indiferencia o la incompetencia.
  16. Parece que están allí cuando les necesitamos y ¿como lo hacen?
  17. Son más humildes de lo que queremos darnos cuenta – estamos muy ocupados criticándoles para darnos cuenta de su humildad.
  18. Frecuentemente ofrecen su ayuda sin condiciones.
  19. O tienen una pasión que arde de forma muy profunda y silenciosa, con muestras ocasionales (en público o privado) o están en un estado constante de manifestar visiblemente su pasión.
  20. No utilizan su pasión para obtener recompensas.

¿Como es el mundo en el cual vive una persona con pasión?

Las personas apasionadas....

  1. Creen que cada problema tiene solución y que no deben dejarlo hasta encontrar esta solución, provocando que la gente a su alrededor que prefiere solucionar cosas más sencillas, quede exhausta.
  2. Creen que el mundo está lleno de lo mágico, no lo mundano.
  3. A veces se sienten solas porque absorben mucha negatividad o abuso a liderar dese el frente con su pasión, a veces entrando en lo desconocido o en territorios peligrosos.
  4. Tienen muchos seguidores a cuestas, ya que los seguidores tienen miedo liberar su pasión y prefiere que otros se arriesguen.
  5. Tienen una experiencia personal que no es fácil. No existen atajos.
  6. A veces se preguntan, después de ayudar a todos, por qué nadie les ayuda en los momentos difíciles.
  7. Viven en un mundo que a menudo no entiende los motivos de una persona apasionada- Después de todo, ¿porqué alguien dedicaría tanta energía a algo o alguien que aparentemente tiene poca importancia para ellos?
  8. Han vivido y tienen la experiencia de muchas cosas, y por este motivo sienten la pasión de ayudar a otros. No siempre puedan compartir su historia, sus momentos de dolor o sus victorias, pero los tienen. No les digas que no lo entienden salvo que realmente sepas que no – puede que tengan mucha más experiencia de la que tú tendrás jamás.
  9. Han vivido o viven unas vidas tan ocupadas o complejas que nos desbordan. ¿De donde sacan el tiempo para hacer tanto para otros?

Por cierto, ¿por qué hacen lo que hacen?

Hacen lo que hacen porque el amor es una parte integral de ellos mismos – un suministro sin fin y abundante de amor que absorben de todo lo que les rodea y que canalizan hacia a aquellos que lo necesitan, aunque la persona que lo recibe se resista o no comprenda por qué alguien haría algo así.

Las personas con pasión son un conducto para el amor. Ellos no lo retienen, sino que dejan que fluya a través de ellos.

Tienen demasiado amor para contenerlo dentro. Este amor necesita encontrar un hogar o la persona con pasión explotará por tener un propósito incumplido.

Tienen el objetivo de que otras personas sientan este amor en diferentes formas. Quieren ayudar a otros sentirlo, incubarlo y compartirlo con otros.

Claro está, las personas con pasión nos vuelven locos. Pero ¿de quien es la culpa: de la persona con pasión o de la persona que es incapaz de reconocer como se puede utilizar esta energía ilimitada, con un potencial fenomenal creado por la persona con pasión?

Hay que recordar que dividir un átomo puede generar electricidad durante toda la vida, pero si se hace mal puede dar lugar a una explosión nuclear.

El átomo está ahí, lleno de potencial. Es lo que hacemos con él lo que produce un resultado positivo o negativo.

Me pregunto si necesitamos un programa de 12 pasos para las personas con pasión. No es para ayudarles a reprimir esta energía que llevan tan adentro, sino, para que puedan compartir con otros una pasión que tienen dentro y que espera ser liberada.

Es para que puedan ayudar a otros encender y liberar la pasión que ansía tener un propósito en cada uno de nosotros.

Una vez que esa pasión ha sido liberada y se la deja fluir, cada uno de nosotros seríamos invitados a entrar en un mundo que percibiríamos de forma diferente. Un mundo lleno de posibilidades. Un mundo lleno de oportunidades de vivir apasionadamente, de amar sin condiciones, de aprender, compartir y dejar un legado para otros.

Quizás, las personas con pasión no sean tan malas después de todo.

¿Que piensas de ese programa de 12 pasos?

Quiero empezar la reunión.

Hola, me llamo Harry y soy una persona con pasión.

Encantado de conocerte.

Tuyo para el servicio y a tu servicio, con pasión.


Traducción al español realizada por Robert Moore Bernardos.

To read this blog in English, please click here.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Check Your Passion at the Door

I was thinking the other day of a sign I saw on a developed beach many years ago.  I don’t recall the exact verbiage on the sign but it went something like this:

Beach Rules

No ball playing

No Frisbee playing

No swimming

No picnics or food consumption

No bicycles on boardwalk

No animals permitted

Enjoy the beach – it is here for your enjoyment

I remember reading this and laughing at the irony.  However, after I laughed, I noticed that the beach was also pretty much empty.  The intention by the owner had stifled any opportunity for most people to find fulfillment and therefore they stayed away regardless of what the owners thought the beach could provide for people.  People went elsewhere where their passions around beach usage could be explored and enjoyed.

The other day I was re-reading Donald R. Keough’s “The 10 Commandments for Business Failure” and I wasn’t laughing.   As I was reading this, I was thinking about a number of groups, business units and volunteer groups, that were unable to gain traction and momentum and they were on my mind as I read the book.

For those who haven’t read this great book, the 11 commandments (yes, there are 11) that Keough believes are embraced by people intent on snatching failure from the jaws of victory are as follows:

1. Quit taking risks

2. Be inflexible

3. Isolate yourself

4. Assume infallibility

5. Play the game close to the foul line – blur moral/ethical lines

6. Don’t take time to think

7. Put all your faith in experts and outside consultants

8. Love your bureaucracy

9. Send mixed messages

10. Be afraid of the future

11. Lose your passion for work, for life

For the sake of my thoughts today, I’m going to rename number 11 to read:

11. Lose your passion - or allow someone to take it from you

After re-reading this book and digesting its wisdom yet again, I stumbled upon a short half-page article on the web by Dr. Tom Cocklereece where he focused on the 11th commandment and discussed ways that churches are choking the passion out of people to make a difference to their church.  His brief article really resonated with me.

Dr. Cocklereece posits that if you really want to fail, then lose your passion – lose your optimism that the impossible is not only possible but is probable if your passion is strong enough.

He goes on to discuss the great idea killers of our society today, including the perennial favorites “that’s good enough.”, “that’s not my job.”, “I don’t care.”, “I’m retiring soon anyway.” or the classic “we have never done it that way before.”.

Here is my favorite lately.

“Don’t rock the boat”.

It comes in many flavors but it translates into the same thing:

You represent change and change is something I fear, so I will do whatever it takes to prevent you from changing my world even if my world needs change.


I would rather not change and continue to demonstrate minimal results than change and produce results.


The suggestion of change represents a threat to my authority since people will discover that I am not the only source of ideas and therefore I will block your initiatives to enhance our results in order to protect my authority.

People resisting such change will discover reserves of energy that they (and you) never thought they had.  If only they had that much passion for creating more measurable, impactful results in the first place.

I think there are many times when one shouldn’t rock the boat.  For example, if a group is producing great results or results that are already meeting the expectations of the upstream or downstream people of that group, then the group should be left alone.

If the group doesn’t actually want to achieve anything, the fact that you see potential is irrelevant – they are happy and should be left alone.

If the group is outside your forte, area of influence or responsibility, then you should probably leave them alone.

If you couldn’t do any better yourself, then you should leave them alone.

However, if the group is not meeting the expectations of the mandate established for them or are violating ethical, moral or legal guidelines then they deserve to be rocked.

If you are a member of the group or a group upstream or downstream from that group and are impacted as a result of their apathy, indifference or incompetence, then the group deserves to be rocked.

If they are promoting a message or mission of “x” and are intentionally misrepresenting traction towards that mission, then they deserve to be rocked.

If they are in a mode of constantly blaming everyone and everything else for their inability to execute and some of the previous criteria apply, then they deserve to be rocked.

That’s not to say that we should be on a personal mission to be looking for people and groups who need to be shaken up.  Not only would that be be exhausting, in many situations we don’t have the right to interfere.

However, I am witnessing more and more people who are directly involved with groups plagued with apathy, indifference or incompetence, have an awareness of unethical, immoral or illegal activities within those groups or have a knowledge of significantly better ways of delivering results and yet are choosing to look the other way, even if they know that people upstream or downstream from that group are being adversely impacted.

Looking the other way would be bad enough if they looked away and forgot about it.

However, they are consumed by what they are witnessing and tell people privately about how such actions violate their psyche based on some personal standard.  Publically, they claim to have no issues or concerns. 

However, their passion for correcting things is just talk.  For some reason, their passion will not carry them towards taking action.

They do this to protect personal or business interests, appearances, reputation (fearing the “why did you allow this to go on so long” question), friendships, etc.

“I don’t want to rock the boat”, they say, all the while suggesting it is clearly important to them because they can’t stop talking about it or better – they are constantly imploring you to carry their fight for them.

My thought to them in return:

“Isn’t it better to rock the boat then watch it sink?”

Maybe rocking the boat will slosh the stagnant water out of the boat, enabling it to ride higher in the water.  Maybe some excess cargo that is weighing the boat down will get sloshed out as well.

It was expressed to me recently that I should tone down my passion for excellence and results so that I don’t offend others in a particular group.

What’s wrong with asking those people to pick up their passion for excellence and results so that I am not offended or so that the people directly affected by their actions are not disappointed or offended?

If they are offended that their track record for producing no result is being challenged, perhaps they deserve to be offended.

Don’t the users of their product or service deserve the best result possible?

Why do we accept a lackluster result as acceptable under the guise of not offending someone?

In a world of political correctness, we are often cautioned not to offend the person not producing or contributing because “everyone is doing the best they can”. 

However, sometimes we need to gently point those people in a different direction, where they can produce a better result than where they are.  They will probably be happier anyway once they are in a place where their contribution is more in line with their abilities.

As Donald Trump once said, we need to be careful that we don’t get caught up in a world where “we reward people just for showing up”.

In a world where our ethical, moral and legal guidelines are constantly being evaluated and many times being relaxed, we need to start demanding a higher standard, not accepting a lower one.

What’s wrong with asking the frequently avoided questions, to use a term I first heard my friend Steve Bannister use?

Let’s start asking more questions.

Questions about passion.

Questions about purpose.

Questions about measurable outcomes.

Questions about ethics, morals and legalities.

Questions about achieving results.

Questions about consistency between our stated intentions and our actual execution.

Let’s not ask the questions as in “you have the wrong answers and I have the right ones”.

Let’s ask them from the standpoint of “if we ask the questions together and challenge each other towards a higher standard then we will produce a better result and we will all learn from the process”.

Let’s not be afraid to ask questions.  When asked from the standpoint of maximizing results in a respectful, collaborative and knowledge-sharing way, there is nothing wrong with asking them and in fact, we should ask them.

We are not trying to figure out who is right or wrong or who is smarter.

We are trying to figure out how to produce the best result possible.

Let’s not lower our expectations to the lowest common denominator.

Let’s raise them to the highest common denominator.

Let’s raise them to the best result possible based on our collective talents and not limit them based on the talents of the weakest link.

The consumers of our products and services deserve and demand it.

The members of these groups and organizations deserve it.

The people who invest their time, talent and treasure deserve it.

We deserve it.

The Earth deserves it.

Our children deserve it.

This is not a license to bully others as some people who resist change or protect apathy like to do.  It’s a license to collaborate and seek the best result possible.

It’s a license to live to your greatest potential, love yourself and others, learn (and share knowledge) and to leave a legacy.

If you are not making progress, move on – there is someone else out there desperate for your passion.  The folks you leave behind perhaps need to learn additional lessons before your respective passions can be in congruence.

Remember the law of the 4 SWs:

  • some will
  • some won’t
  • so what
  • someone’s waiting.

As Dr. Cocklereece closed his article:

If we truly value something we will do it—not just teach or talk about it.

Be passionate!

Your passion is simmering – what do you want to do with it and how badly do you want to achieve it?

Do you know the answer?

Good – what are you waiting for – get on with it.

The emperor is not wearing any clothes.  Someone is waiting for you to cry out.  Don’t worry – once you step up and call it, you will be surrounded by many people happy to step up and support you.

If your passion already has a home and is producing results, I thank you.  You are a role model from which we can all learn.

Whether your passion flows unrestrained or is still evolving, I thank you for it - we all benefit from it when the time is right for it to manifest.

In service and servanthood.


PS A day after I posted this, I came across a quote by Zig Ziglar that I thought embodied this post perfectly.

“Don’t be a wandering generality – become a meaningful specific”.

Live passionately and on purpose.

May your purpose be seized by your passion – don’t let anyone put your fire out.