Power and Change

Welcome to July.

Another month has come and gone in what seemed like a flash, despite the days often feeling like they drag on and on as we work our way through varying degrees of Coronavirus lockdowns.

Looks like after attempts to reopen bars and restaurants, and after Black Lives Matter protests and counter-protests, we’ve lost our focus on flattening the infection curve by social distancing and now we’re seeing an alarming increase in cases in places all over the United States.

There is lots of frustration from the lockdown.  We certainly value our freedom, don’t we?  And there are lots of different stories about how the lockdown was either a mistake or unnecessary, or the only thing that saved us.  I’m sure we’ll be debating that for a few hundred years.  I do know that it’s a huge inconvenience, and it’s cost hundreds of thousands their jobs which has jacked up our stress levels and added to the frustration.

Joy & Hope

But in these messages, I don’t want to spread gloom and doom; I want to spread a little joy and hope.  Let me start with 3 questions:

  • What ability do we all possess that could prevent the further spread of coronavirus?
  • What ability do we all possess that could prevent riots in the middle of peaceful protests, or even prevent the murder of George Floyd?
  • What ability do we all possess that brings real change in our lives?

The answer is our ability to Love.  I’m certainly not the first to talk about this.  From Jesus Christ to Ghandi to Abraham Maslow to Martin Luther King, Jr, we’ve always known that Love is the true power of change.

Love is a Decision

But you don’t have to wait to “FALL” in love.  Love is a deliberate decision that we need to make for our lives.  We need to make the decision to love others – collectively.  If we make that decision, everything that follows will put the needs of someone else first, whether that’s one person or a whole community.

When we decide to love, we will sacrifice what we need to make sure others have what they need.

It should be easy enough, but if I’ve learned anything over the 40 years that I’ve been studying leadership, it’s that people are…difficult.  To make this decision, you really have to understand the difference between what people WANT versus what they NEED.  Often this really is a matter of opinion.  Do we WANT the police to stop killing unarmed black men or do we NEED that??  Do we WANT to go out to a crowded bar and drink (meaning we don’t wear a mask) or do we NEED to??

Time to Reflect

This decision requires that you reflect deeply on what you and what others need, then put their needs first, sacrificing your own.  We have at least 2000 years of consistent proof that this works to bring change – but it is a LONG GAME strategy.  We have to be willing to endure for the short term.

Today, let’s love others by wearing our masks.  Let’s love others by allowing them to protest without us having to shout about how they’re wrong.  If you’re angry, stay home.

I’m going to change a famous quote from Zig Ziglar.  He said “You can get anything you want in life if you’re willing to help enough other people get what they want.”  I want to remind you that “You can get anything you NEED in life if you’re only willing to help enough other people get what they NEED.”

Do something today to put a stranger’s need above your own.  Let me know how I can help serve your needs.

David