What we accept.
Our reaction to the influences around us, influence what we accept.
Last week I was travelling and working across Melbourne, Canberra, and Sydney. And for reasons unknown to me, but I’m grateful for, I found myself in the company of a handful of people that didn’t have it so great. Thing is, there was a common thread between them. They had accepted their lot in life and didn’t appear to be making any attempts to alter it.
The irony? They still had hopes and dreams but lacked the motivation to break through their accompanying apathy. To me it was blindingly obvious, they had settled, unhappily so, and just accepted everything “is what it is.”
So, after I’d considered that observation, I held the mirror up to my own face. It was also true for me that what we accept in life, and its aspects, is dictating what we do, and what we don’t. If left unchallenged, it won’t lead us toward anything new. In fact, it won’t lead us anywhere.
As someone who’s managed and mentored many people over three decades, I know that quality leadership starts with how well we lead ourselves. Those who take responsibility for themselves, their actions, and lead with compassion and care, will lead well. And those they lead shall willingly show them respect and trust.
How we lead ourselves, shows up to others. So too what we accept. And in the face of events beyond our making or control, that impact upon us in work or in life, our reactions are a great revealer of character, and ability.
Leading ourselves well starts with what we’re willing to accept, our personal set of standards. Honesty, accountability, and discipline are never far behind. Because it’s hard work improving the way we lead, holding ourselves up to high personal standards isn’t always a kind and compassionate process. But it needs to be. What we accept as “just the way it is”, is the point apathy can start to sneak in.
Many of us know and understand what the impacts of others can have upon our mindset and our mood. Hanging around narcissists, whingers and complainers, or blamers, means we’re likely to be affected by the negativity in their world. Most of which is caused by everybody else I’m sure! But for me, the first step I took years ago, was not to accept such people into my life. Work or otherwise.
There will always be people around us who seem willing to throw anyone under the bus. They love a good round of the blame game, or playing the victim, or having a protracted woe is me. For quite a while, I was one of these of people, and my misery loved company! But that was many years ago, and through the power of choice I took responsibility for my life, and what I allowed to impact upon it.
That first choice, what not to accept, snowballed and created many others. Oddly enough the affects were immediate. By associating with like-minded people, improvement was guaranteed. Because of what we accept and , more importantly, what we don’t.
Here’s my list of what I do and don’t accept, in or from other people.
- Saying no to others is ok. If it’s not in line with my standards, or beliefs, or if it’s not beneficial to either, it’s a flat-out no.
- Saying not now is ok. Being pressured into something is not acceptable to me. but if it has me wanting to be a part of it, then I’d like some time to think.
- Encouraging others to sort it themselves is ok. Pointing people in the right direction with sound advice, is better for them (and me) than solving it for them. Of course, they’re free to accept or ignore such advice.
- Not owning other people’s problems is ok. If I wish to help someone who’s in a tight spot, I make it abundantly clear it’s a team effort. If they start watching from the sidelines, then I stop playing that game.
- I refuse to be guilt-tripped into doing anything. That is the tool of the selfish. I will never accept manipulation as a method of motivating people.
- Relationships are a two-way street. I do not hold expectations over others that I do not meet myself.
- I encourage everyone to speak to me without fear of saying something wrong. If that does happen, I’ll ask a question for sake of clarity.
When it’s all said and done, the underlying message is this. I accept that happiness is not a right, or an entitlement. It’s a mystery we need to solve for ourselves. And as we lead ourselves toward uncovering that mystery, what we accept along the way will dictate our results. It all starts by challenging what we accept.