Sunday, May 11, 2008

Lead, Follow, or Get out of the Damn Way!

Why is it human nature that in every organization from PTA, to HOA's to Church's, to national non-profits there are small groups of "doers" and a loud, albeit small group of complainers.

You know? The ones who will bitch that there weren't enough signs posted about the cake sale. But ask them if they'd volunteer to post signs next years and they're always "too busy" or sick.

The one's that tell you you ran the flea market all wrong and spent to much on advertising. Ask them to be on the committee next year and they simply can't.

They are all over - the do-nothing complainers. They do nothing to help, but they sure bitch about the way others do the things they don't or "can't." They even complain about when the doers receive any credit for what they did! I've known of cases where the do-nothing complainers go so far as to call the doers "divas" who are attention seekers or show-offs!

Complain, bitch, moan, groan, complain... but DO NOTHING!

Some volunteer and then, somehow magically get sick, or get stuck at work and never make it to committee meetings and never come through in the end. their computers break, phones get disconnected, dogs eat their to-do list. But they complain plenty about what others did or didn't do. Some commit to do a specific job and simply don't do it! And still they complain. Or they do it so poorly it needs to be done over entirely!

Others come to the committee meetings, but spend the whole time complaining and being so disruptive that nothing can get done. That is why the saying came about: Lead, Follow, or get out of the way! If you can't do anything positive at least shut up and let those who can, do it.

If you cannot contribute in a constructive, positive manner to a group or organization why spend your time wasting everyone else's???

There is yet another odd group I've come across lately. They have an issue they feel strongly about but have no idea how to fix it. They have no plan, no strategy...But they are angry that YOU have done nothing to fix their pet peeve problem. I am sure local and even national politicians are faced with this a great deal:

"Why have you done nothing to end world hunger?"
"What do you suggest I do as mayor of your town to help that?"
Reply: "I don't know, it's your job to find out how to solve it."
Mayor: "Would you like to organize a committee to see what our town could do to help end hunger? You could meet in the town hall and I could advertise it for you. maybe get the library to set aside room for food donations"
"No, too busy. Sick. My dog has fleas."

Next day - an angry letter to the editor that the mayor doesn't care about the hungry. Or worse, that the mayor threw the guy out of his office; was rude to him; disrespected him...

Those who can, do. Those who can't: SCAPEGOAT, blame, and project their shortcomings on others. Jealousy? Envy? Frustration?

If you sit home and hibernate you offend no one. You play it safe by doing nothing and make no enemies. “No one ever achieved greatness by playing it safe.” Harry Gray

Doers do, not because of the rewards but because of their passion. “Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion” (Hebbel). But, ironically, the "doers" not only do - they often also get hated, and must bear in mind these words of Rabbi Boteach to his son: "Never fear being hated:"

"Small men want to be loved. But big men are prepared to be hated. Small men tailor their actions to suit the multitude. But big men will do the right thing no matter how much it inflames the masses.

"Abraham Lincoln was detested by both South and North as he fought for the highly unpopular cause of emancipation. Winston Churchill was loathed in Britain for speaking out against Chamberlain's fictitious peace with Hitler. And Martin Luther King Jr. was cut down by an assassin's bullet as he pointed out the injustices practiced against black Americans. No great man or woman has ever lived who was not prepared to be hated….Do what's right even it costs you friendship. Do what's virtuous even if it leaves you lonely."

Will you chose to be a brave - albeit possibly lonely and maybe even hated "doer" - or will chose to complain and bitch? Shaw said: “Forget about likes and dislikes. They are of no consequence. Just do what must be done. This may not be happiness but it is greatness.” Mark Twain shared the Rabbi's conclusion saying: “Be good and you will be lonely.”

I dislike loneliness, and would rather be happy, but I have no choice. My passion drives me to DO! I want to know at the end of the day, and at the end of my life that I did everything I could do, I left no stone unturned.

Those whose passion drives us to do, though lonely, must keep in mind the words of Rudyard Kipling:
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

I try hard to follow this advise because I want to live up to the meaning of success defined by Ralph Wald Emerson:

To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty,
to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better,
whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier
because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

Somehow bitching and complaining, criticizing, projecting, making excuses, being angry, nasty, mean or sarcastic appear no where in the list of goals for my life...Are they on yours?

I will keep on keeping on... knowing that: “Everything I did [and will continue to do] in my life that was [and is] worthwhile I caught [and will continue to catch] hell for.” Earl Warren

My goal is not greatness or "success" for myself personally. My goal is to be a part of accomplishing a great and successful end to corruption in adoption. I know to do that I must lead or follow. I cannot and will not stand in anyone's way - nor will I let anyone stand in my way or the way of other doers.

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