Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Measure Of My Success... It's Not You.

I have found that there are many parallels between what leadership experts claim will revolutionize a church, business, or organization and what relationship experts claim will revolutionize a family or marriage.  Take for example the trending topic of change.  I have set in rooms with organizational leaders who ache for a change that will bring growth or at the very least bring the organization in line with the goals and values of said leadership.  I have also listened as couples desperately detail the need for change in order to save a deteriorating marriage.  Both groups find themselves mistakenly looking at those around them as the measure of their own success.

"Unless you value control more than you value integrity" 

Volumes of leadership books detail behaviors and attitudes guaranteed to bring success.  Counselors and self-help books provide direction and unselfishly dole out answers to the difficult “How” questions for marriages in crisis.  Eager leaders and desperate couples devour the advice waiting for the miracle to take place; organizational growth, increased revenue, a healthier more loving relationship. 

The often unclear and unspoken principle that should fuel proper healthy growth is that all the answers and profound advice point to an individuals way of being that is simply the “right thing to do” or the “right way to behave”.  The problem with leaving this principle unspoken is that the measure of our success when "doing what is right" shifts to focus on whether or not others are responding to our changes the way we want them to respond.  The end result?  Spouses quit doing what’s right because “she still nags” or “he still has a short fuse”.  Leaders embrace old familiar habits because “employees still complain”, a project fails or a task gets overlooked.

" make the individual a better person first and a better leader or spouse second"

What proponents for change must realize is that the advice and answers they are given for their issues are designed to make the individual a better person first and a better leader or spouse second.  If attempts to bring about change are embraced with the main goal of “fixing the other person” then change efforts will not be sustained long enough to bring about true change in the person they were intended to fix… You. 

My childhood pastor used to say that “bitterness is like swallowing a poison pill and hoping it kills the other person”.  The same futility will destroy a person who attempts positive change habits (doing what’s right) in an attempt to change someone else.  I hope to see more people doing what is right because it’s right, instead of only trying to do what “works”.  Unless of course you value control more than you value integrity.  I for one intend to do what is right because it’s the right thing to do and because I believe it will make me a better person, spouse, and leader.  My growth is the measure of my success; your growth is an added bonus. 

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