Monthly Archives: December 2017

Think, say, cause the future, then get out of the way


Accommodation and Compromise and Making things work

In our work with leaders particularly new leaders, we distinguish taking a stand for something bigger than yourself, something that could use you beyond your lifetime. And beyond your location. We distinguish being cause in the matter, that is taking a stand that you are 100% responsible whatever the situation is. It this time that you are. It is that you take a stand that you are and constitute yourself as that who you are are the stands that you take.

That sounds a little gobbledygook.

Take a Stand
Constitute yourself
Bigger than yourself
Beyond your lifetime
Beyond your location
Being Cause in the Matter
Being 100% Responsible

Taken down to the everyday, it means you are not a feather blowing in the wind but a solid rock. It is very enrolling. Not controlling.

I took a trip to New York with my family over the holidays. The trip was born from listening to my tenor 16-year-old grandson sing word for word every song from “Hamilton” in the car as we were at Camp Nana (granny camp) in the NC mountains this past summer. Then after that auditioning for and getting the role of Scar in “Lion King”. His performance brought tears to our eyes. He once again recognized what an amazing son he has, a true artist.

We saw Hamilton”and the “Lion King”! On Broadway.

Davis wanted to wait in the 15 degree sidewalk outside the stage door to wait for Scar to come out and talk to him. He instructed his sister, his parents and his other grandmother and me to keep our mouths closed and let him handle the meeting. Not to embarrass him.

The big moment came the London actor, Stephen Castile who played Scar came out and grinned. We had already met the actor who played Simba and told him we had a Scar from Virginia waiting. He turned around and went back in the stage door and I don’t know what happened but shortly the Scar performer came out and headed straight for Davis.
I said again, this is Davis, he played Scar in his local theatre production. (I didn’t get in trouble for speaking.)

Stephen aka Scar looked at Davis and shook his hand and said, “Say a line, say the first line Scar says.” Davis swallowed and grinned embarrassedly and then stood tall and said, “Life is unfair. I will never be king and you will not live to see another day.” Davis grinned like a Cheshire Cat and the actor said, “ Good job. Keep at it. There is nothing like live theatre.”

I knew in that moment why I had taken the trip, my stand for Davis and his talent and his joy and place in the world right there in front of me.

My being cause in the matter of his knowing himself.

All that worth standing and waiting. Somebody asked how long we are going to wait. I said as long as it takes.

The accommodation, the compromise, the making it work, that is also what we give leaders as sweeteners to their stands. It doesn’t always look like you think it will or should. Soften and wonder vs control and force. Be willing to be cold and uncomfortable and wait it out. Be willing to do what someone else suggests. All the while standing for the stand/future you have created. Be willing to get out of the way and allow it to happen. Be willing to elevate others and have them have it happen.

I may see the promised land but I will not get to go there myself. That is more than enough.


Watching a film about the Dalai Lama this morning, the part about the hang-glider tourists spending more money than an untouchable spends in a lifetime, the untouchable looking up in the sky as the tourists drift overhead at the foot of the Himalayas.

What adventures will they go on next? Which will I go on?

Seeking the rewards of travel and new workds over the satisfaction of sitting and drinking tea in the slum.

Being afraid of the squalor but not afraid of jumping out of a plane.

Being afraid to sit and look into a stranger’s eyes.

Being afraid to go to the party when I can’t hear anyway.

Writing daily to work this out, finding moments for more love and less hardheartedness.