Today I want to talk about the fact that we need to KNOW that we’ll never be able to please everyone all the time. Knowing this is one of the hallmarks of both leadership and creativity.
Phil Stutz describes this quality of leadership as being willing to tolerate “hatred and misunderstanding.” It’s REALLY hard to do. Which is one of the reasons why so few people have the courage to lead.
Here’s how Truman put it: “How far would Moses have gone if he had taken a poll in Egypt? What would Jesus Christ have preached if he had taken a poll in the land of Israel? What would have happened to the Reformation if Martin Luther had taken a poll? It isn’t polls or public opinion of the moment that counts. It’s right and wrong and leadership.”
In a world so confused about right and wrong and truth and lies and virtue and vice, it’s ESPECIALLY important for us to step up (with grounded, respectful clarity) and have the moral courage to speak (and to live) our truths.
What’s true for you?
Like, deeply, soul-achingly true?
Are you living in integrity with that?
As Emerson tells us: “Trust thyself. Every heart vibrates to that iron string.”
And, as I’ve mentioned before and promise to mention again (and again), he also tells us to be prepared for the backlash. Even in 1841 (!!!) when Emerson wrote Self-Reliance he knew that, for your nonconformity, society will “whip you with its displeasure.”
He tells us that it takes something godlike in ourselves to trust ourselves as our own taskmasters.
Let’s have that level of courage.