Many people are suffering these days – no sense in denying this fact. Many, many more are living in fear of suffering – these are the people I am writing about (and to) today. Are you living in fear of what MIGHT happen in coming days or months? Nothing else seems to throw us Off-Purpose more certainly or quickly than FEAR. Of course most of our FEARs turn out to be False Expectations Appearing Real. How might you replace your fear with courage that comes only through hope for the future, which is a product of faith?
“In times of change, the learners will inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”
Eric Hoffer said this. He was a former longshoreman, people’s philosopher, author of The True Believer; a self-taught man who was cautious and skeptical about the role that intellectuals play in the development of society. From Wikipedia, “Hoffer was among the first to recognize the central importance of self-esteem to psychological well-being. While most recent writers focus on the benefits of a positive self-esteem, Hoffer focused on the consequences of a lack of self-esteem… He postulated that fanaticism and self-righteousness are rooted in self-hatred, self-doubt, and insecurity. As he describes in The True Believer, he believed a passionate obsession with the outside world or with the private lives of other people is merely a craven attempt to compensate for a lack of meaning in one’s own life.”
I love Hoffer’s quote. It reminds me of a participant in one of my corporate coaching groups a few years ago. Whenever this man contributed to our discussions, he always began with, “In my experience…” He remained “stuck in the past” (his ego required him to live there). He had little new to say because he had little new to experience. He had little new to experience because he had, in his mind, little new to learn. I honestly believe he feared the present moment (i.e. the present circumstances, present day, present conversation) for what might happen in the next moment, or for how he might be challenged or held accountable. In many respects, he was uncoachable. He was stuck and could not recognize the alarm bells going on around him that warned him to get unstuck.
These days I find myself facing more and more people that seem “stuck in the future“. They are afraid of what “might” happen this year, next month, tomorrow… Oh, there is plenty going on in the global economy to stir up one’s fear; there is plenty of data; there are plenty of people hurting. Often, it is what they read and hear in the media. I do not discount the fact their fear may also arise from the personal story of someone they know well, a neighbor perhaps. The thing is with the people who I am writing about, none of the feared data is their own.
People are running scared who are not directly experiencing their own dire adverse affects from the disastrous groundswell of gloom that has grown out of last year’s credit and mortgage crises. As a result, people are missing opportunities to learn and grow from their own real, lived experience. They are acting on experience that they might have, or NOT acting because of what might happen. They are caged by fear. They are “beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”
I do not mean to be bold by asking you to consider me as a “Human Stimulus Package.” In fact, I say it with humility in mind. This is how I have been called to serve. This is the nature of my business; in fact, it is a way of describing the Purpose of my business. The terminology is new, but the intent and outcomes are the same as they have been since starting this coaching and development business six years ago. Just as businesses need retooling and physical refurbishing from time to time, they also need “Work Culture Refurbishing” – that’s what I do. I know what I do works to help people “get to the other side” of their fears and the real obstacles that get in their way.
Through my work I stimulate people to see the world in new ways, which is the first step toward recognizing possibilities that before did not exist or seemed beyond reach.
If you follow my blog on a regular basis, then you understand that passion is a product of hope, and hope is a product of possibility, and possibility depends on our assumptions. Many of your assumptions depend on your faith, and are both the source and object of that faith. If you read my blog yesterday, then you also understand the nature, power and need for personal leadership. Passionate leadership will lead us out of this gloomy economy, this time of drastic upheaval and change – and YOU are the leader. YOU must be the leader.
- What might YOU have to learn to prepare for a future you don’t understand?
- How are you acting with faith and courage in response to your current circumstances? How is that working?
- In what area are you learned, where your past experience, attitudes or even expertise might be holding you back in your new environment?
- How is personal leadership playing out in your daily life and work?
- What possible changes might you consider making to prepare for changes that you cannot control? (Remember, you can ALWAYS control your response to change.)