One thing about writing a blog - it can sometimes be easy to hide one's faults because one can choose to never reveal those things. But, sometimes revealing our faults can be worthwhile. And, as you can probably guess, today ended up being one of those times. I want to admit to you that sometimes I can be a hot-head! I have been working on that fault, but it still rears its ugly head on occasion. This morning was one such occasion as I was reading an article about politics and I found myself getting frustrated. So much so that I thought to myself, "that's it, I'm not keeping silent anymore. I am going to write about my frustrations!"
(This is me taking a few steps back to think through this idea of writing about my frustrations....)
Then I realized that when I am feeling frustrated, that is not the time I should think, talk, or write about a particular subject. That is when I need to take a step back and think things through, get a little perspective. Reactions are rarely the most effective path to real leadership and real change.
A more effective path is to take a look at the subject, or topic, in question, and determine "the good" and "the bad". (Our knee-jerk reactions are "the ugly.") Because if we are trying to be helpful in any given situation, we need to acknowledge that most things have at least two sides. And, one of the most important jobs of a leader is to be able to identify those opposing sides.
(I need to take a moment here to clarify that by saying there are always two sides, that does not necessarily mean the two sides are EQUAL; simply that only seeing one side of a situation is rarely helpful, just as being reactionary is rarely helpful.)
In the end, what I concluded was that even though I do have frustrations on occasion about lots of different injustices I witness in the world, my calling is to somehow be a unifying change-agent. But, that can't happen if I am feeling frustrated. I might feel empowered by an injustice. I might have a sense of urgency to solve a problem. But, being frustrated makes me feel trapped, like I have nowhere to go, and that's when I am at risk of losing my perspective. And, once I lose perspective, I lose my effectiveness.
A better path to making a difference in the world is modeling actions, and presenting ideas, that build people up. And in the process, I might inspire others to join me in that posture.
No, I don't always succeed in avoiding the feeling of frustration. But, at least today I was able to take a step back and reconsider what it means to be an effective and a true change-agent.
Good luck as you take on your own personal faults! It's a never-ending battle for us humans!
Your friend on the journey,