A follower of mine on Twitter, asked others to share their favorite quote. Mine is Gandhi's, "Become the change you want to see in the world."
This quote is often shared in the form of memes on a variety of social channels. Unfortunately, many who share it, often spout off in anger, blame or criticism not long after.
It's their channel and they can say whatever they want on it. Though it gets me wondering whether they truly understand what Gandhi meant. We don't have Mr. Gandhi to clarify for us but I'll take a crack at it.
People can be very reactive to life. They leave their homes in the morning, waiting to see what life brings them. Waiting to see what happens as though they're not allowed to have a feeling or thought until something first happens.
When Gandhi says, "Become the change you want to see in the world," I believe he's saying is this: if there are certain things you want to see occurring more often in the world, you must be those things.
So when you say, "People are so impatient these days," if you would like to see that change, the way to do it is to nurture your own patience. Then as you live your life you're a model for patience. You're showing others, how its done.
That's what it means to become the change you want to see. When you say, "People don't help each other out anymore. Everybody just seems so selfish."
What do you think the solution is? It's to become more helpful. To model it, for others to see.
Somebody has to go first. That's what being a leader is all about. Gandhi saw what was happening in India at the time. How oppressive British rule was. He didn't look over his shoulder and ask, "Is anybody going to do something about this?"
Instead, he declared that something must be done. The situation was unacceptable and that he would take action. The rest is history.
I'm raising three boys with ADHD and Asperger's. I remember the ignorance, defensiveness and judgment directed at my boys over the years.
There were a few times I lost my temper. Ultimately, I wanted them to be patient with my boys. I wanted them to be accepting and compassionate. I began by showing compassion to their teachers, and the other adults in their lives.
I needed to model for them what I needed them to give to my sons. If I had approached them in a defensive, chastising way. Whether they meant to or not. They would've paid it forward to my sons.
If you make the staff resent you. They can become more angry or anxious when dealing with your child, because they don't want you to unleash upon them again.
You must give to them what you want them to pay forward. I record podcasts, write articles and am very active on social media. There are times when I become upset, when I'm tired and cranky. I may even be tempted to post something about it.
Then I pause. I remember, that this is not the world I want to create. So I'm not going to put frustration or complaining in the world and ask others to engage with that.
I'm not denying those very human tendencies. I have them, most of us do. But I am not going to use those parts of myself to connect with others. Misery loves company so it would be easy to rally people around negativity.
But we're entrepreneurs, innovators, agents of change. We aren't interested in easy.
We're interested in progress. If you want people to be more grateful. Discuss the blessings in your life.
If you want your employees to treat the customers with respect. Then the solution is clear. As leaders, we need to prioritize growing ourselves if we hope to grow our businesses and better the world.
A great leader goes first, and invites others to join him/her. Not because s/he wants followers. But because s/he wants collaborators, co-creators of an amazing outcome.
That's what I'm encouraging you to do. Decide what change you want to see in the world. What do you want to stand for? Then live, as often as possible, from that place. The more consistent you are, the more people will want to follow your lead. Why? Because they like the results you're getting and want some of it for themselves.
Before you know it. Your example creates a ripple and things begin to change. I encourage you to take this on. To become the change that you want to see in the world, and watch all the beautiful things that happen.
Thanks for being you,
Brian R. King