Look closely at any successful person and you will find one often overlooked key to success they all have in common. Steve Jobs stood for insanely great products and gave us the iPod, iPad, iPhone, iWatch, and the most valuable company in the world. Most of these products were groundbreaking, having to be created and launched without an established market.
In 1961, President John Kennedy stood for putting a man on the moon and returning him safely by the end of a decade. This dramatic and ambitious vision was announced before even successfully orbiting the earth. Against all odds, the feat was achieved on July 20th 1969, a mind-blowing achievement that is etched in my memory.
In 1980, John Mackey and three co-founders took a stand for making healthy natural foods available on a large scale. Within a year of launching Whole Foods Market in Austin Texas, a 100-year flood wiped out their only store. Despite that monumental setback, the company rallied to reopen the store 28 days later with the support of employees, customers, and even their vendors. Today the company has 460 stores and $3.5 billion in sales.
I could share so many similar stories—Rosa Parks, Walt Disney, Oprah Winfrey, Candy Lightner, to name just a few. What each of these people have in common is they took a stand.
What is a stand?
You take a stand when you declare a vision or outcome and then persist in pursuing it no matter the obstacles you encounter.
A stand is a different from a position. When you take a stand, you are flexible and inclusive in achieving it. Positions are rigid and unyielding and almost always rely on the use force. A stand is fueled by purpose and passion—you have something to gain. A position is driven from a place of fear—you have something to lose. Said another way, a stand is something you will die for and a position is something you will kill for.
As just one example, contrast the difference in approach between Martin Luther King Jr. and the southern white supremacists during the struggle for equal rights.
Our society is currently experiencing tremendous conflict because people on the right and left have taken positions instead of stands. They are villainizing each other and trying to defeat the other rather than work together, which is leading to a cultural war.
Why you should take a stand
There are several benefits to taking a stand:
- A stand calls you to your greatness, to have courage and resilience in the face of trials and setbacks.
- A stand helps create clarity and focus.
- A stand provides meaning, motivating you every day to work toward something bigger than yourself.
- A stand enables you to achieve greater things than you would otherwise.
Taking a stand is something you can do in every part of your life.
You can stand for:
• Your marriage
• Your children’s safety, education, and happiness
• Your health and well-being
• Who you want to be as a person
Leaders can stand for:
• Their vision for their organization
• The success of their people
• Who they want to be as a leader
Taking a stand begins with a vision you have for yourself or others, and you bring it into being with a declaration. You declare your intention and you back it up with willpower, perseverance, and resourcefulness.
What are you standing for?
My personal stand…
Several years ago, I declared this intention for my life’s work: I stand for helping people be their highest-self every day, all the time.
This stand has enabled me to be bold and courageous in my executive coaching. I am empowered to challenge my clients to be exceptional and to guide them through a process to hold to and achieve a vision of their greatness.
Recently, my stand has manifested as my newest book: Dear Human, Master Your Emotions, which will be published in April 2017. This is the first in a series of Dear Human books that will guide and inspire people to be their best self.
Furthermore, I am launching an Inner Mastery Community website in 2017 to support people in learning how to connect deeply and experience true community. It will also be a learning platform, offering a wide range of programs related to creating inner mastery and living a great life. These bold adventures would not have been possible without first taking a stand.
What are you standing for? Let me know in the comments below something you are standing for. While you’re at it, leave a note of encouragement for at least one other person who has responded.