Taking Steps Toward Leadership–Significance in the making

Does anyone remember the 60’s?  (There’s a joke for that…If you remember the 60’s, you didn’t experience them.  Dude.)  The 60’s were filled with young people who wanted to change society.  They wanted to get rid of stereotypes.  Women at home in a dress and pearls doing housework in heels instead of dressing as men and demanding the same pay .  Men of power and age determining the fate of the nation instead of youth with idealism and principles.  An attitude of duty and work ethic whether or not you liked your job instead of self fulfillment and working at a job you enjoyed.  Focus on the greater good of the company, the community, your family instead of focus on self and self actualization.  The youth during this volatile age wanted to be heard, wanted to make a difference, wanted to be significant…and high.  The main complaint of the older generation was that the youth wanted all the power and influence and none of the responsibilities that came with it.  The main complaint of the younger generation was that someone else determined their fate…what jobs they would get, who would go to war for a purpose that wasn’t clear to anyone, what to wear, what to say, and how to act.

There is a commercial on T.V. for Hotels.com featuring a drill sergeant and Captain Obvious.  The private gets caught with a cell phone and the Drill Sergeant says, “Drop and give me 50.”  To which, the private (soon to be unidentifiable mush in the sand) says, “What’s in it for me, SIR?”  The first question we have to answer when we interview people is, “What’s in it for me?”  Why should I be a part of your company/club/organization?  Why isn’t it “Your company/club/organization has many things I’m interested in!  Can I be a part of this?”  The focus now is so self centered that we forget how we became an influential country.


Our goals and objectives have shrunk to such a small level that if you cannot reach these goals on your own, they don’t get reached at all.  Our goals and dreams should be so big that they REQUIRE help from others in order to get achieved.  To get an Eagle badge or a Gold award in scouts, you have to put together a project that includes members of the community and other members of your troop to finish.  We had one project for the Silver award that required the troop to organize and participate in moving the books from the old library to the new one and get the shelves filled in a weekend!  We had another project to build a picnic area and shelter for the church for this scout’s Eagle award.  To get Distinguished Toastmaster, one has to participate in a high performance leadership project that includes several other toastmasters in a community event or a toastmasters event.  It takes time and cooperation, planning, implementation, and effort to achieve.  When the toastmaster asks for volunteers to help him out with his project, he doesn’t focus on what’s in it for the volunteers.  The Volunteers do not ask, “What’s in it for me?”  It’s a project that’s bigger than just getting an award for the person in charge.  It’s working on something that is Significant!  The project has far reaching consequences and matters to people.

Did the marches and protests of the 60’s change the way we did things?  YES.  Did they influence generations of people? Yes.  These people of the 60’s were doing significant things.  Not all the significant things they accomplished were good things, but they couldn’t predict that 50 years ago.  Can a whole generation aspire to significance then?  Yes, it can.  But there needs to be a caveat.  Significance has to be defined as something bigger than an individual.  There can be no isolation when we talk of significance.  John Jones traveled to the top of a mountain, by himself, with no log, no pictures, no video, no proof.  Was it significant to John?  Yes.  But it isn’t significant to anyone else unless he shares it.

Tomorrow we will look at what makes a significant life.


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