As I zip through the country side on a train bound for home, a full and exasperating day is coming to an end. It will soon be a new day, but I am struggling with some of the events I have faced today.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “We’ve never done it that way before”? I cringe when I hear those words focused toward my brilliantly innovative suggestion. On the hand, I also cringe when the imaginative proposal challenges my well-entrenched rut, my practices, my tradition. Who was it that said, “The only constant in life is change.”? They were wise. Just as wise is Mignon McLaughlin, who said the most unhappy people are the ones who most fear change.
If I were honest, I would say I am somewhat fearful of change. I am reluctant to change until I am sure it is safe. I wait. I calculate. I ponder. I worry until I see the next step; all the while chiding those steeped in tradition… perhaps I am just conflicted. I need help to see beyond my limitations.
Stretching out to a certain extent, I just finished my Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Leadership. The course was all online; never once did I have to walk into a classroom or onto the campus located half a country away. I have wondered how those who actually have to attend classes do it. Two different methods and perspectives; both somewhat challenged by the other. Both beneficial in their own rite. The value of the learning style is based upon the one who has been educated; I am the only one who can apply the knowledge I’ve learned.
One of the great men who has spoken into my life is Al Butler. Al has helped shape my perspectives as well as encourage my hunger for learning. Back in the day, he became a College Professor when some of his colleagues began to work on a top secret project for the Defense Department. He was intrigued about the secret project for years, and one day our paths crossed; but the times had changed a great deal. I was able to speak freely of this once guarded project, in fact I’ve made my career of working on the radar equipment that extends the capability of our limited eye-sight. What once was purely speculation evolved into a concept, to a limited reality, and is now widely accepted and publicized.
As I thought about this team of geniuses, I am sure they faced many challenges from the outside world. They may have even challenged each others’ backgrounds, education, and ideas; but they continued. The tumultuous days, filled with challenges, chides, and jeers are now in the past; and their work is considered successful. As a team, they found the resolve to continue with their mutual vision.
As the old day closes, I am reminded to encourage my teammates. I am reminded just how much I need their honest perspective. I am also reminded that I need them to move through the changes ahead of us. A new day is coming.
Is there something that hinders your progress? An attitude that stands in your way? Is there a perspective that needs an honest assessment? Perhaps a teammate, friend, or family member that needs you to humbly welcome their comments into your guarded world?