Archive for March, 2016

Starvation

HangingLedgeSelfietreated

So many times we’ve heard that you can’t always get what you want. The Rolling Stones told us in the ’60s:

You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometime you find
You get what you need

This is one of the most famous lyrics in popular music, in part because we believe there is a ring of truth to it.

  • If we try we may get something more than nothing
  • If we try we may get something different that’s better for us

The layers of meaning serve many people in many circumstances, even providing solace for those who compromise or settle for less. It leaves room for religion, though clearly doesn’t mandate any supernatural forces.

When we don’t get what we need, we die. Or something within us dies. Keeping the human body alive is pretty straight forward. The human spirit is a more complicated matter. Yet we find that if the human spirit is snuffed, the will to try goes with it, and the human body is sometimes soon to follow.

Perhaps the will to try, in and of itself, is enough to sustain us. That at our most basic, stripped down level all we need is that will, which is based on hope. Hope may not be the highest level strategy, but when it’s all you have, it can keep you going. True to the lyric, we sometimes find that if we persevere long enough something good will happen for us, even though our efforts may have had nothing to do with it.

And if not, something will die. Death eventually takes care of the rest.

 

 

Storm is Coming

StormComing

When you’re probably headed into a storm, what do you do?

  1. Turn back
  2. Wait
  3. Forge ahead

It could be a cleansing rain, or it could be really destructive. The human self protect wiring that’s most comfortable with how things already are wants to turn around, or is immobilized. But if things aren’t all that great, then the perturbations of the storm don’t seem so daunting. They are no less scary though.

You’ve weathered challenges before. Better to face it than to let it run you down later, but it takes some courage. Always risk, either way. Just very different kinds of risks.

Homewrecker

If the wind blows your house down, you can hardly blame the wind.

03-WgUs4

No Rescue

lGwhx7F

While I accept the clear statistical facts that this (see photo) is a real scenario that plays out on many more occasions than many might think, I am also somewhat befuddled by it. Not so much that a skilled person can help, but that an individual with true intent would reach out in the final moments. I don’t see it, which doesn’t mean I don’t see the value of being available for those who want to cry for help. Those with true intent are going to quietly get it done.

It would be nice to be rescued, but rescue is a grueling burden we don’t have the time, energy, or in many cases, the true emotional generosity for. Sure, we’ll go through some motions that look like it when a crises appears. How could we live with ourselves otherwise (which, by the way, sheds some light on why we really do it)? But in the long run it’s too much to expect.

There is no real rescue. You are on your own. You have to figure it out. It’s a lonely truth made all the more heartbreaking by the fact that for those to whom this conversation is most salient, the feeling of loneliness or abandonment is almost certainly a major factor.

 

6 Intangibles of Leadership

ducks

There’s been much written about it. We know when we sense it in others because we are willing to listen and follow genuinely, as if it’s in our best interest, not just because we’re supposed to or because we’re riding on the coat tails of some opportunistic agenda. Things like trust are vital, but what are the other mystery qualities that produce a characterization of genuine leadership?

In no particular order…

  1. Grit – Passionate perseverance over the long haul. Toughness and dedication.
  2. Self-Awareness – We all have our blind spots, those things that we have no idea exist that can trip us up. Leaders have fewer, or they seem less significant.
  3. Resourcefulness – Learning agility. The ability and tenacity (see #1) to figure it out.
  4. Self Sacrificing Love – Possibly the core of leadership. Truly acting in a manner consistent with and showing care for those around you. The willingness to take less when it counts so others can have more.
  5. Manages Discomfort – The emotional awareness to assess causes of discomfort and translate it into appropriate actions.
  6. Creates a Sense of Meaning in Others – People will gravitate toward those who provide clarity about the what, how, and all important why. They will be more compelled by someone who clarifies their own why. Call it the Big Why – that top box on the list of things that drive you.

For the most part these characteristics can’t be manufactured. You can fake some of them for a while, but eventually the truth shines through. They are part of the makeup of who you are. It’s possible to over time learn to amplify and leverage these characteristics in oneself, though it’s extremely difficult to navigate without help. Those capable of providing this type of profound wisdom need to believe in you enough (see #6) to invest that capital. You still have to figure a lot of it out yourself along the way.

“You too, child.”

EyeStab

Translated, this is what some believe were Julius Cesar’s last words as he realized Brutus was involved in the conspiracy to assassinate him on what became the Ides of March that we celebrate today. Whether he actually said anything is up for debate, but most historians are sure his disappointment at this discovery was profound.

We also celebrate the ill fated betrayal and demise of Jesus during these times.

As either story is told, its presents us with a classic martyr scenario. Yet, these actions were believed by their perpetrators to be justified, if perhaps somewhat cowardly in execution. It’s very easy to look at these scenarios through a morally polarized filter, but there have certainly been some assassinations over the years that were considered morally right by many, so as I always say, be careful about judging when you don’t know all the information and haven’t walked in the shoes of the other.

Stepping back from the questionable morality of it for a moment…and assuming there are times where it is a necessary action, what is the “right” way to assassinate someone? That it comes to this at all represents so many failures it makes one wonder, how could things be allowed to go so wrong? How could so much control be lost? Now there is the burden to weigh not only whether it can possibly be considered right to end a life under these (or any) circumstances, but what is the “right” way to go about it? Quick and decisive? In the open where you take the blame, and any consequences, or with secrecy? From a moral perspective, does it matter?

Everything matters if you care about the assessments of others.

And finally, what of the guilt the perpetrators carry with them after the fact? What of those men who fired the guns in the firing squad, or the man who released the rope of the guillotine? Or who gave the order to do so.

Betrayal, which comes in many lesser forms than murder, is a tough pill for either party to swallow. It is deemed wrong, and yet is sometimes justifiable, at least to some extent. Once things get this far, it is too late to save ourselves. We become prisoners, whether we execute the betrayal or not. There is no escape.

Trust, the Hidden Part

TrustHandsThe eighth post of this blog, published over six years ago, was about trust. It was deceptively simple. I referred to it as a belief and an assessment.

It’s also nothing more than a feeling we like. We will grab trust when we need it. Not objectively. Rebuilding a broken trust is quite difficult because our expectations were not met, even though those expectations likely were more based on our need for the feeling of trust than a quantifiable assessment it was warranted.

That’s not to say there are no other factors. It is to say that we become biased by what we need, and one of those needs is to feel safe – to trust.

Once you realize this, it makes it awfully hard to really trust again. But we try anyway, because we need to.

 



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