The "Actual" Leader...

When you say something, some think you should have said less, while others would argue that you didn’t say enough. This is the danger of saying anything at all.

When you decide to do something, be prepared to get mixed reviews on those your “doings”. The other option is to never say you’re going to do anything, so that when you don’t, you never said you would, and when you do, you exceeding everyone’s expectation, which was nothing in the first place.

When you try to change, how do you know whether it is for the right reason or for the right kinds of changes? If you don’t know for sure, the temptation is to simply not make the attempt in the first place. Saying nothing about how changing makes people around you feel like you’re trying to make them look bad.

I’m learning that almost every decision I make, word I say, or action I take will please one person and displease another. It makes it very tempting to just be indecisive and indifferent so as to remain practically irrelevant and beautifully invisible. Very, very appealing on days when it seems like you’re being parsed like a Greek vocabulary word. You have to resist the urge to withdraw and withhold, showing your cards to no one, sharing your thoughts with no one.

But what will become of me and the world around me if I never say, do or be anything for fear of disappointment, misinterpretation, rejection and criticism? The temptation of silence and inaction and accommodation seduce me regularly. They whisper into my ear that they will take care of me and protect me if I stay close to their side. If I didn’t know better, they spin a pretty convincing web making you wonder if it’s a hammock to rest in or a net to be snared by. It’s hard to tell on some days.

But my heart screams, “Live, speak, share, cry, yell, move, be, expose, disclose, make known, dream out loud…and let the onlookers say what they will.” Let them make sport of your idealism and your dreamy desires. Let them kick around your heart like a hacky sack. Let them make fun of your failure to do what you set out to do, for you “set out”. Let them conspire with others regarding your speed and stride commenting on the manner with which you’re running the race, for while they sit in the grandstand grandstanding, you are “in the race” and you are actually “try to run”. Let them point out missteps and mistakes in the execution of your “to do list”, for you are unashamedly about the business of acting on your ambitions. Let others cast lots and cast stones, for you know that most decisions don’t need lots cast to find the unlucky elected leader, they need a person who says, “I’ll do it, no need to draw straws today, the rest of you are off the hook.”

So today, I celebrate the people who actually act. I honor the ones who take the hits for the cause. You inspire me. Thank you for speaking up, stepping up and standing up knowing—completely and painfully knowing—that you are going to be watched and listened to by people half of whom will love you and half of whom will hate you in the same moment for the same reason.

I don’t know how you do it, but I’m glad that you “do”.


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