Hello everyone! We hope you are all doing well, and are ready for the warm weather. This post is about a conversation between myself and a young gentlemen that want’s to help people, but has allowed himself to be stopped in his tracks.
Has no one ever told you?
Today I want to talk about something that has been keeping people on the sidelines, and has prevented them from doing what they’ve wanted to do. I see this far too often, and feel in needs to be addressed. To do this, let me tell you a story.
Each person has the ability to be amazing. Most just choose not to be.
The other morning I walked into the dining facility and saw a young gentlemen that I recognized. I noticed he had his head down, so I decided I’d sit with him to keep him company. I asked if I could join him, he nodded his head yes.
I asked him how he was doing, and if everything was going ok. Naturally, he said, “Yes”, and tried to brush the conversation off (he could tell where this was going). I knew he had a great deal of respect for me, so, I started to pry.
I asked him, “Why did you join the Army?”
He raised his head in confusion, almost annoyed, so I asked again, “Why did you join the Army?”
He started to tell me about his life in high school, and how growing up was in Arizona. What stood out to me the most, however, was when he said, “I wanted to join so I could get away, and help people.” This Soldiers Platoon at the time was struggling with several setbacks, and it was clearly taking its toll on him. His leadership was being worn down, and didn’t have much time to guide, let alone, uplift Soldiers much like the one I was talking to.
So, I asked him, “What do you mean you wanted to help people?”
He went on to tell me about his experience in his basic training days, and about one of his counterparts that he eventually met again in his current assignment.
He said, “I used to tell my buddy, ‘Man, when we get to our unit, we’re going to do great! Between you and I, we’re going to get promoted, and then, we’re going to help everyone else do good too'”.
As he told me this, his energy changed completely! His eyes widened up, he started to raise his voice, and at one point, he even rose from his seat. This clearly was a passion for him, and something that he had put a great deal of thought into.
So, I had to ask him, “Well, what happened?”
In true Soldier fashion, he responded, “I don’t know, Sergeant.”
This was my cue to step in.
What did happen?
Like most of us, when the going gets tough, It’s easy for us to submit, and let our plans go by the wayside. In this gentlemen’s case, a few things were going on:
- He fell into a negative spiral
- He fell victim to the mediocrity that surrounded him
- He felt like he couldn’t make a difference.
Has no one every told you?
I went on to ask him just that.
“Has no one ever told you, man?”
He looked at me, almost confused, and said, “What do you mean?”
So, I began.
YOU could be amazing!
Everyone has the ability to be extraordinary, most just choose not to be — and it’s understandable. Through most of our lives, we have been taught to submit to figures of authority in a lot of ways. In this case, the authority was the population — the majority.
I went on to explain to him, “You are the average of the five people you spend most of your time with. If things aren’t going the way you want them to, change the scenery!”
This seemed to catch his attention.
His rebuttal was, “Well, what if some of the scenery is above my control? What if the main problem is the people in charge of me?”
This, unfortunately is a common case. How many times have you worked underneath someone, and just knew that you could do a better job then they could; or, you knew that they weren’t doing everything they could to achieve a common goal, and were simply holding on to whatever position they were in for their personal gain? I bet you could think of at least one person who fits this mold.
I understood this Soldiers dilemma, and I made that clear. But I went on to offer him this scenario:
Let’s remove all implications of rank, and status. What is stopping you from taking the reigns, and making great change?
Let’s say that you and I were apes, and you didn’t like what was going on in the group. You didn’t like the way I was leading the pack.
What is stopping you from becoming the Alpha? What is stopping you from making a difference?
He thought about this for a while, and realized, “Myself, I guess.”
Really, who would stop you from making your team, your family better? Who would tell you, “Whoa, man, you’re doing too much!”
The real question you should ponder is, would you allow yourself to care if someone did?
Why should you care? Why should you hold yourself back because someone else is uncomfortable that you are doing great things, and they aren’t? This is often the reality.
“Haters” will come from miles away to tell you your energy is being wasted, that you’re “Wasting your time”, and doing too much. Let them.
What some people tend to confuse is that influence comes with position. That is not the case at all.
In our case, it is authority that comes with position, not influence.
Yes, being in a certain position of management, or leadership will grant a bigger vantage point, and place you in a position to influence more people… but, how often do people fail to pull the trigger?
As I told my friend during the conversation,
“You can influence from the highest mountain, or the deepest foxhole. The choice is up to you!”
When we use the power of influence, we can effect change in anyone we encounter.
The fact is, we will always be influencing people – you don’t have a choice.
The choice come in whether you want that influence to be positive, or negative.
Don’t let someone else make that choice for you!
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