Updated: Jun 12, 2020
Well, I usually tried to play my cards close to the vest, not ruffle feathers, tried to listen and respond, subtly moving a personal or professional agenda forward.
God forbid, I would be controversial or invoke conflict and argument. Get along and get on with it; don’t disagree or challenge to much because that was uncomfortable, awkward and seemingly unproductive.
Well, at times I might have been wrong, as the old adage of, you can’t please all the people all the time, applied but, I thought I could accomplish things, develop genuine relationships and optimize goals if my beliefs were secondary and perhaps silent to others.
Truth is, as I think about it, maybe I wasn’t completely sure about what I stood for and not quite sure if I had the conviction to go public with it. That approach can get you ahead often, but can it get you completely there, with totally engaged friends, family, employees and community members?
Someone I’ve admired and was catching up with the other day, a good friend who owns, runs and writes a significant regular newspaper on activities and passions for most things outdoors, brought this point home to me.
He puts himself out there every couple of weeks, mostly writing and engaging freelancers to put together a quality product that has stood the test of time. It has broad circulation and is supported by a number of advertisers. He’s out there, people like it or don’t, buy it or won’t. Lately, he has used it as a platform for his beliefs, taking a stand and letting people know where the man behind the curtain stands, clearly stating these are his opinions. He said it was scary at first, but rewarding and somewhat cathartic is it reinforced and tested his convictions, especially when you put it in writing. He said it was generally well received and brought people out of the woodwork and built deeper connections with readers.
Periodically, he has shared very personal stories about pain, loss, happiness and humor; he says his talent as a journalist moves up a bit on the continuum as his heart and soul appear on the paper exposed to thousands. His readers loved it. This is a guy filled with humility but that had to feel awesome to build that bond with people as a healthy byproduct of professionally and passionately spilling his guts. His growing list of readers knows what he stands for.
Do you know what you stand for? Could you write it down and share it? Are you willing to invite challengers and other opinions? It’s not easy and may rock the boat; but, a number of the people I respect have done it and are often better for it. I now know that I am better for doing it too.