A good friend of mine, a partner in empowering women, sent me a page from a book, Perseverance, by Margaret Wheatley. The following excerpt sparked my thinking today:
“Steadfastness is a lovely old-fashioned word that we don’t hear much about these days. It describes how warriors stand their ground, how they find their position and stay there, unshaken and immovable. Steadfast people are firm in their resolve, they are not shaken by events of circumstances. They stand clear in their beliefs, grounded in their cause, faithful to the end.”
“And once we find each other, we need to support and encourage our steadfast behaviors- the times when any one of us speaks up, stands our ground, sees clearly, refuses to yield, doesn’t give up.”
In business, we are subject to a myriad of circumstances, including other people’s opinions and others’ behavior. We can get shaken by things. We can want to quit- our businesses, for those of us who are entrepreneurs, or our jobs, for those of us who are employed. It seems as if the moments when it is all ‘perfect’ are outweighed often by other factors that are disempowering or discouraging. I think the important question and discussion that sparked my thinking is “How do we stay steadfast in the face of whatever we are dealing with?”
I am not saying this is the ONLY answer, and I think one way to stay steadfast, or as I call it, unmessablewith, is to have clarity, to stay grounded, and to surround ourselves with people who support us and are our champions.
What that looks like is answering the question of what do you STAND for? What is important to you? How does what is important to you relate to what you are doing professionally (given we spend most of our waking hours working!)? Once you have that answered for yourself, put that in a place of prominence where you can read it and see it on the days when it appears that circumstances are not lining up.
What that looks like for me: I am using my life and my professional work to stand in an open-ended inquiry—What is possible if women are empowered? What is possible for women, for men, for society and the world? While in the process of that, I am out to end the gender gap, both in pay and in influence…in my lifetime. (I know that seems impossible given the latest study by the World Economic Forum, who predicts it will take 217 years to close the gender pay gap alone!) However, that is where I am steadfast in my mission, in my standing for that possibility- it shapes my thoughts, my actions, my talks, my writing, my coaching and my training as well as my relationships. That language, that stand, is everything for me.
What is yours? What are you standing for? It does not have to be selfless or big or any particular thing. If you are standing for you being powerful in your job or your family being happy or living abundantly or whatever it is for you personally, then knowing what it is and creating the language for what you are standing for will allow you to be powerful in the face of whatever circumstances come your way. You can be steadfast, or unmessablewith!