If this is the sector that was supposed to change the world, how come the world has not changed? If what we want more than anything is significant, comprehensive, visionary improvement in our communities, why don’t we just get out there and get it done?
This series is all about the stumbling blocks we have found – Stop Signs along the road to creating an amazing future for our communities and our world. (To see other Stop Signs in this series, just click here.)
This week’s Stop Sign is one over which each of us has control. That makes it both scary and exciting, all at the same time. And it is all about just getting out there and getting it done.
STOP Sign: The Safe Place
Question: Which is scarier to you:
1) Stepping outside the comfort zone, towards something you have never done before? Or
2) Being held accountable by your community if things are never any better than they are right now?
Yes, you – accountable and responsible for the future you are part of creating, right now.
So which is the scarier thought – stepping out on the limb to try something you have never tried, or knowing that future generations will hold you responsible for not doing so?
If we indeed are creating the future with every action we take
(or choose not to take),
and if we ourselves hold past generations responsible
for the current state of the world (which we do),
and we will soon be one of those “past generations,”
then it’s just simple logic:
We will be held responsible for the world we are creating right now.
Are you creating a future you want to be held responsible for?
I hope that question overwhelms you. It overwhelms me every day.
Here is another overwhelming thought: We each have the power to make it different – make it better. We all make decisions and take actions. And we are in control of those actions and decisions – actions and decisions that will create the future.
We will be held responsible for the future we create.
We have the power to create the future.
We are in control of creating the future.
And that leads to a slightly different question, the bigger question:
If what you really want
is to create an amazing future for your community,
and you have it in your power to help make that future a reality,
are you willing to step beyond the work you know how to do,
and step out towards that potential?
So How Do We Do It?
Once you have decided to take the plunge, the first step is to simply be conscious that every action we take and every decision we make is creating the future for someone other than ourselves – someone for whom we are responsible, simply because we have the power to affect their lives with our actions.
With that knowledge, for every action you take and every decision you make, ask:
What future might this action create?
What might the consequences be? For whom?
If the consequences of that action might ripple out towards a future for which you would not want to be held responsible, then it’s time to reconsider that decision.
Boards: Every time someone makes a motion at the board table, ask, “What future might this create? For whom?” Ask that question for single every motion, every time. See how that changes both your thoughts and your actions after just one meeting.
Executive Directors and Program Managers: When tough decisions have to be made, ask, “What future will this create for our employees, for our program participants, for the community overall?”
Just that simple consciousness of our power and responsibility is a huge first step.
Conquer that one, and the next steps – creating plans, changing organizational approaches – those are easy, once you have conquered the first huge leap of being more conscious of the choices we make, every day.
Inertia, or the future?
The thing we know, or the thing we want most?
“I don’t have time to think about it” or “The results are my responsibility, whether I think about it or not”?
The unknown is where all our potential lies. When we stay with what we know, we are precluding that potential from being realized.
So which will you choose? Stay where it feels safe, or reach for what is possible?