Think/Debate Posts

It’s Not Personal – Until We Make It So

Praying WomanAs I sat in meditation today, I thought back on my values and priorities in life, and reflected on the political environment we are living in today. I have difficulty fathoming any environment where the behavior of the leaders of our country should be tolerated. In my experience, some or all would be fired. It’s unfortunate we cannot do so with as much ease as within the private sector. But, this is not a rant post….

I also recognize that what is occurring is not personal. As I sit here, typing, I know that there is no one in Washington who knows me, or cares about me personally. I am one of 310 million people, and it’s just not possible for them to think of me personally. This fact also makes it almost impossible for them to have any empathy or compassion for the effects of their actions – on either side. It speaks to the level of their humanity, and their ability to really LISTEN to their constituents and take action based on the people they represent.

We are the people who are taking it personally. We have personalized all of it, even though it is not so. But for us, this is what personal looks like:

  • We are the families who work hard, but still live in poverty – and the programs that were available for us to get from meal to meal, paycheck to paycheck are shutting their doors.
  • We are the people in the tourist business who are being laid off because the parks are closed.
  • We are the senior citizens who have worked and saved to make sure we were financially secure, and that perhaps we could get by if Social Security were reduced – but are now fearful that our savings will be destroyed by politicians willing to bring our economy and our country to it’s knees.
  • We are the people who received the bodies of our loved ones, taken in combat as they fought for our country – and were told we would not receive any death benefits to ease the financial burdens we are sure to face without them.
  • I am the mother of a young man who is the benefactor of a state agency’s services that will cease on November 1, 2013, because they will lose their federal funding. The non-profit is the Nebraska Commission for the Visually Impaired and Blind, and they teach the low vision and unsighted citizens of this fine country to be self-sustaining and contributing members to society.

I can’t take the “leaders” of our government’s actions personally, because they are not. I know that I am the cause of my pain, because I create my own suffering – my anger, my disgust, and my sadness.

We have choices. All of us do. I can choose to take action, or I can choose to sit in my suffering and wallow. It is a waste of my time to suffer and wallow. I can work hard to create beauty in my piece of the Universe. I can help my child wherever I can. I can write and call my representatives and senators and share my thoughts and my expectations. But, what do I do when they blatantly tell me they don’t care – they will do what they feel called to do – even when it doesn’t represent what the people who elected them want them to do? I vote.

As a coach, I ask these questions of those leaders:

If the Representatives of the House, elected by their constituents to represent them, are not taking the action we are requesting of them, who are they representing?

What makes it so difficult to collaborate on improving a law that undoubtedly has flaws, but has withstood efforts to repeal it and declare it unconstitutional?

What gives them satisfaction about holding people and our country hostage by withholding jobs and money because they desperately want to destroy the Affordable Care Act?

If they are not willing to be leaders of character, why are they there?

What has become of their humanity?

I closed my meditation this morning with a prayer: “Divine Spirit, I pray that the “leaders” of this country look closely at their behavior and rhetoric, recognizing that both are not in our nation’s best interest. I ask that calmer minds be willing to sit down in collaborative conversation, speaking with kindness and respect, and resolve their differences in order to help us move forward as the country we profess to be. Amen”

 

You Are A Leader? Really?

WhoAreYouI’m relatively active on Facebook, and somewhat active on Twitter. I’ve made some great friends, deepened some existing relationships, gotten clients, and connected with a number of people in leadership communities who are active in social media. I’ve been impressed with quite a few people, and admire most of them.

I have even participated with 20 of them in writing a book about character-based leadership, and our wish to see changes in how people perceive their role in leadership.

Here is my dilemma; my struggle:

I know I am not perfect. I never have been. I slip up occasionally, and post things I think are funny – and I’ve inadvertently offended people. And, I have practiced what I coach, and I’ve learned from those situations, and I am much more mindful of the impression I can leave with others when I am not impeccable with my word.

Please bear with me when I ask this question:

How can anyone proclaim to be a leader, especially one who holds their character up as an example for others to follow, and post offensive statements on social media related to other people based on lies, assumptions and judgments about their religion, their race, their gender, and their character?

Leadership is about being non-judgmental, open-minded, diverse, compassionate, humble, caring, empathetic. Leadership is about communicating – listening, seeking to understand, being assertive rather than aggressive or passive-aggressive. Leadership is about seeking a win-win for everyone, and seeking the greater good. Leadership is about trust and accountability. And, yes, leadership is about setting an example.

I’m discouraged by some of my fellow leadership coaches and consultants.

Normally, I don’t say anything. But, you see, I’m also practicing being fearless and authentic – two more characteristics of leadership that I admire.

So, I have two additional questions I would like to ask:

What drives you to put statements out on Facebook and Twitter, or in the media, that are based on assumptions that are not factual and can generate hateful feelings in people who see them and trust you?

Based upon your definition of character, what stops you from being mindful of the consequences of your behavior?

Georgia Feiste, President of Collaborative Transitions Coaching, Inc., located in Lincoln, NE, and Phoenix, AZ, is a personal growth and leadership coach, writer, and workshop facilitator.  She is also a Usui Reiki Master and EFT practitioner.  Her passion is success grounded in purpose and passion, standards of integrity and priorities in life.  You can also find Georgia on her website, Collaborative Transitions, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.