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The Water is Wide

26 Sep

There are times in our lives when we simply cannot get to our goals alone. Although we accomplish much, there will be moments when the water is too wide to cross by ourselves and we need the help of others to get across. If we are very independent, it may be hard to accept assistance. If we are shy, we may be afraid to ask. If we are arrogant, we may try to do it ourselves even when we know it’s impossible. Getting help when we need it is beneficial. It’s wise to understand our limitations and asking for help doesn’t mean we’re weak or incapable. Nobody can do everything. When we need others to get across and ask for help it shows we are strong enough to accept the situation and work around it. If we want to do it alone we may feel disappointed that we need support and it might be hard to admit we can’t get there on our own. But the goal we’re seeking is the focus. If we can’t get to it alone, working with others will often help us achieve it. We are capable of understanding the big picture and finding a way to succeed even if we can’t do it by ourselves.

Personal success is defined in many ways. Some people prefer to accomplish many things alone and like to fly solo in their endeavors. If they hit a snag they can’t navigate by themselves, instead of including others they may change their plans to get around it. They eventually find their way but it may take longer than if they had asked for the assistance of others. We all have different talents and perspectives. If we allow others to share theirs with us, we often find the answers more quickly. We can embrace the experiences of others and invite them into our journey to navigate the path forward more easily. Listening to many other interpretations of the situation may bring us the answers we’re seeking. We can open up and bring others in and get the help we need.

Competition is a normal part of the human experience. Some of us are more competitive than others and if we need to feel like the winner in every endeavor, we may try to get to our goals before anyone else. There is reward in being first but there is much to be learned by collaborating. If we’re in a situation that stops us and are struggling to find our way through, allowing others to collaborate and share in the victory may help us find our way to success more easily. But if our desire to do it alone supersedes our willingness to allow others in, success may elude us. There is much to be gained by allowing others into our journey. We are capable of doing many things well, and often we won’t need assistance. But when we do, the door is always there for us. Opening it and allowing others in will help us get to the goal we’re seeking. And getting to the goal is the primary objective.

Today if you’ve been struggling with something that has you stumped and aren’t sure how to proceed, ask those around you for their advice and counsel. You may be surprised by what you learn and you’ll find your way to the other side. The water may be wide but by working together you will find your way across. There isn’t anything you can’t do. Get the help you need and you’ll succeed every time.

Stand Up

4 May

One day during an important staff meeting with the senior management team, my supervisor was annoyed at something that had happened, and made a remark giving his opinion that included several extremely vulgar words. I was shocked. I do not use that sort of language, and I found it to be very offensive, especially since I was at work, and required to attend the meeting. To my own, and everyone else’s surprise, I stood up at once and said, “I will not remain here in this meeting if this is the kind of language that will be used. I will not tolerate this level of un-professionalism, and I am completely offended.” I remember I was shaking because I was so upset. There was a stunned silence as everyone realized I had broken the first two cardinal rules of work. #1 – Do not criticize your boss, and #2 – Do not EVER criticize your boss in front of his/her boss. Yep, I had completely ignored those, and had stood right up, and spoken out. After a moment, my supervisor apologized to everyone, and said he was sorry he had used that language. I sat back down, and the meeting continued.

Afterward, back at my desk, I thought about what had happened, and I wondered what repercussions I would be facing for standing up, and making such a scene at the meeting. I was concerned that I may have jeopardized my job. I mean, you don’t correct your boss when his boss is in the room without something happening later, right? I remember sitting there and thinking I was going to face some serious setbacks for my outburst, and I was quite worried. But I had done what I felt was important. I had kept my standards, and stood up for what I thought was correct.

What happened next surprised me. One by one, the others in the meeting came by my desk to thank me for speaking up. They each said they, too, were offended by the comment, but were uncomfortable pointing it out, and they were proud of me for being brave enough to address it. And then my supervisor called me into his office. “Well, here it comes,” I thought. I took a deep breath, and walked over to see him. “Shut the door,” he said as I entered. I sat down, and looked him in the eye prepared to take whatever was coming. He looked at me, and then apologized profusely for his behavior at the meeting. He said I was right to say something, and he was embarrassed by his statements. He asked me to forgive him, and said he would never use that sort of language in the office again. I was stunned – I did not expect that.

We all have our own ideas about what is right and appropriate, and often when someone steps all over them, we don’t say anything. We just stay quiet to avoid an uncomfortable situation. But I learned that day that speaking up was the better choice. Most people don’t want to offend those around them. Sure, there are some that don’t care about anyone but themselves, but most people try to be polite, and not hurt others. So it’s appropriate if we are uncomfortable, that we say something. We have the right to say it’s not okay. We can stand up for what we think is right.

Today, if you find yourself in a situation that makes you uncomfortable, remember, you can say something about it. You can be polite, but you can also be forthright. You can say you are uncomfortable, and you want the situation to change. You have that right. Today, exercise that right. Speak up. Be clear. Say what you are feeling. Do not sit quietly, and take it. If you stand up, you will feel stronger, and more empowered. You will gain the respect of those around you. And those are great attributes to gain. Speak up. Say what you mean. Be strong.