Tuesday, September 15, 2009

If You Don't Stand for Something, You'll Fall For Anything

This topic has come up in a couple of different ways for me and it got me thinking about taking a stand and when it is important to do so.

I missed my chance to make a big 9.11 speech and I feel like that is something that is best addressed on the day so I will save what I had to say until next year save this....I don't know about the rest of you but I never got the "National Day of Service" memo and I think it is a fantastic idea. It was too late this year but next year I plan to -at the very least- organize to deliver bagels/donuts to the local firemen and police officers to express my personal thanks for their service (as you may recall my brother was a fireman). I also plan to donate blood- this is what I did the day the towers fell. I was living in Chicago and had no family close by so rather than go home and sit alone I went to the nearest blood bank and waiting to donate blood. I was so far down on the list that I never got called but I sat there for a good 5 hours perfectly content to just be with other people and doing something...didn't matter what it was. I got out of the habit of donating blood which I used to do very regularly (being AB+ I always felt a certain obligation to donate- being a rare type and all) so I am glad for the reminder and plan to make that my new 9.11 tradition. This is an issue worthy of taking a stand on.

What is important to people- to you- changes in a moment. You may love your house but if burns to the ground you may find that what you loved most were the people you invited inside it. Priorities can change in the blink of an eye.

So many people have had so much throw at them these past months and it changes what is important. For me, I feel like I have lost so much and my feet still aren't quite on solid ground. It is getting better and I am getting more and more steady each day but when you have lost so much you get in survival mode and then get in defensive mode. I know how much I am willing to give up right now and its more than I ever thought because I realize how much of it just isn't important. How much is just what I call "background noise". I have learned that I can give up TiVo and dinners out and other "things" and "stuff" that used to seem so important. I know where the lines in the sand are, at least until that line creeps up to my toes and I have to once again re-evaluate to see if that is really as important as I'd thought- again. You have to adjust to survive.

I have been chasing a 6 figure income for so long. I have gotten in range a few times and it always seemed possible with the sales jobs I have had and the talent I felt I possessed. Hitting that target was always such a driver for me and so important. And now for the first time in over 15 years I have a job that isn't commission driven because I have realized that, for now, a 6 figure income isn't what is most important to me. Having a solid position with a good company that I can grow with- now that is important! Work life balance is important. Making time for my boyfriend and family- that is important!
All these things I never thought would be an issue for me is what is critical for me now. I was joking with my buddy who got me the new gig that I am trying something new and plan to keep my head down and mouth shut and just do my job. You may giggle at that but I have long prided myself on being the one who points out that the Emperor isn't wearing any clothes... and by the way here is the ensemble he should be wearing. I have been a loud voice and being the change junkie you all know and love you can correctly guess that carried over into my work life as well.

Now? Not so much.....I was joking a bit when I said I was gonna keep my mouth shut. Of course I am going to fully contribute and help my team grow but I really kinda meant it too. Frankly I can't risk losing this gig. I have to fight to keep this stability thing I am building going and so I am not going to color outside the lines. If they tell me black is white....as long as no one (especially me) is getting hurt but saying black is white then....for now....I am happy to say black is the new white all fucking day long. My priorities and different right now and I have lost too much. My line in the sand got shifted.

Now here is the interesting thought.....I know my line has been pushed back and I know it is fear driven. I am not happy about that but it is what is is. The risk is too great to step over the line. I know I am not the only one who has had their lines pushed back so when you apply that to a society, all who have lost so much and are scared and being fear motivated right now trying desperately to protect what they have now rediscovered as important to them....what does that look like? I know my bullshit tolerance has gotten much much higher and I will put up with a much wider swing than I used to. But I will still only allow the swing to end where my nose begins.

So the question is.....what do you stand for now? Where is your line in the sand that you cannot be pushed back from? Do you know where it is? How far are you willing to be pushed to find out and what would it take for you to push back and come out swinging?

Cuz at the end of the day.....if you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything and the world is watching.

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