3 Tough Choices Global Change Agents Must Make to Get Your Message Out!

by on April 15, 2013

When I reflect on the people in my life who have truly inspired me, who stood out, who made an impact, and who bring a smile to my face and to my heart, there are only a few. When I ask myself, “Why do they inspire me?”, “What makes them stand out?”, “What makes them so remarkable?”, “What makes them so memorable?” (To be clear, I make a big distinction between getting attention, which often relies on gimmicks, tactics, and manipulation, and being truly inspirational and transformational. I’m choosing to only address the latter. ) I’ve identified 3 choices that change agents and visionary leaders must make to stand out and get noticed while being inspirational, transformational, and authentic. And while those choices are simple, they may not be easy.

In my opinion, as much as we like to say that we don’t want to judge others, we do it all the time. We’re always evaluating our own and others behavior, both positively and negatively. And I’m actually okay with that…as long as it’s done objectively, fairly and honestly. So, I think the best thing we can do is to simply and fully be ourselves, as honestly and authentically as possible. Stop worrying about what others think of you, and do what you know is right for yourself and others in your heart. When you do that based on your own values and beliefs, then you remain true to yourself.

That’s a lot easier said than done. For example, how many times have you been in a conversation with someone who is trying to get you to agree with their point of view? If you disagree with them, do you automatically share your counter opinion, or do you read the situation and decide whether or not it’s worth the energy? It’s not as black and white as we would like it to be. There are often a lot of factors to consider that we’re faced with on a daily basis.

There’s a delicate dance between belonging and fitting in, and getting noticed and standing out.

I’ve come to accept that I’m going to be judged one way or another, so I do my best to clearly speak my truth whenever possible, and let the chips fall where they may. It’s not easy. Some days I do better than others, and sometimes keeping my mouth shut on some things is actually for the best.

As a visionary leader, change agent, and entrepreneur, the more I go out into the world with my message, the more I’m faced with some tough choices about how and what I communicate. More and more, there is less and less distinction between my personal and professional life. Since my business feels like an expression of my life purpose, it can often feel intertwined.

Choice #1: Do I say what I need to in order to get love, respect, acceptance, approval…and business?

Choice #2: Do I say what I believe in and what’s true in my heart and risk losing that love, respect, acceptance, approval…and business?

Choice #3: Do I have the right to keep certain things private that’s no one else’s business except my own?

There are pros and cons to each choice. In Choice #1, there is a lot to be said for not rocking the boat. On one hand, it’s a lot easier. But on the other hand, you risk betraying yourself and it can eat away at your soul. People may judge you positively, but based on information that’s not even accurate. Or worse, it can backfire and people judge you negatively based on inaccurate information! An terrible example of this in business is when there’s an opportunity to make a sale of a product or service to a potential client and the sale is made even if it’s really not in the best interest of the client.

With choice #2, you might risk losing the acceptance of others, especially those closest to you. There’s something to be said for protecting certain relationships. But there’s also a lot to be said for unabashedly speaking your truth. If you’re going to be judged anyway, wouldn’t it feel better for people to judge you based on information that’s true? Most importantly, you get to remain true to yourself. It especially takes courage to change something that’s good to go for something great.

An example of this is changing from a business that’s not fulfilling but that’s generating great cash flow, to one that feels like a full expression of your Divine Purpose.

Finally choice #3 is where it’s not so easy. It’s this choice that makes Choices #1 and #2 not so black and white. I think there are limits to both “full disclosure” and “withholding information”. Sometimes, it depends on the situation. Full disclosure is required when the information is relevant to a decision or course of action. If it’s not relevant to the situation at hand, and there is no intent to deceive, mislead, or manipulate, then I think it’s okay to keep certain information private. For example, in a business situation, it may not be necessary for someone to know your personal, political or religious views.

Being a change agent and a thought leader means you’re willing to make some tough choices and take a stand for what you believe in, even if it goes against the status quo, or is controversial or unpopular.

And in today’s world of technology, business, and marketing, communication and connectivity are at an all-time high. Everything you say and do has the potential to be spread across many mediums of communication at lightning speed. And once it’s out there, you can’t take it back.

For change agents, how you behave in your personal and professional life ARE connected more than ever before, and it’s important to be aware of what and how you’re communicating at all times. Since that’s the case, you might as well make a conscious choice to be fully yourself and fully transparent…and let the chips fall where they may.

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