The Motivation to Act

This past week I had the incredible opportunity to see and hear His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, along with Sister Helen Prejean, of Dead Man Walking fame, and Vincent Harding, a long-time civil rights activist who worked tirelessly with Martin Luther King. The energy in the room was palpable. Whether you agree with their passionate positions on non-violence or not, their solidarity around tolerance, compassion and love is undeniable; and many of their messages are universal truths.

You may be wondering what this blog has to do with business, careers and alignment. I hold a strong belief that a fully aligned life is one where an individual’s career, values, beliefs, desires, and talents are congruent and fully supportive of one another. Thus, their unwavering message – represented not only by what they say, yet also how they live – is indeed relevant to our work and lives.

There are two salient points, out of many, which I want to share as we begin this new week:

1. Our enemies are our greatest teachers. It is relatively easy to love and show compassion to those that love us and support us. It is much harder to show tolerance and compassion to those who do not feel or demonstrate the same to us. This can be true of competitors, prospective clients, individuals whom we thought were our friends, and even those we have never met who may threaten our very livelihoods and freedoms. The message from these wise teachers, was to be grateful for these individuals as they are our teachers and provide us an opportunity to practice and grow in our lives through the most difficult circumstances. We are here to teach and to learn; and most often our greatest lessons come from the most challenging sources.

2. Heed the motivation to act when we feel and hear that inner voice. This resonated with me. It is often much easier to think, talk and philosophize about what we believe and feel, than it is to act. Taking action can be scary. Taking action can tempt our most comfortable positions in life. Taking action can often challenge long-held relationships. Yet, what I have come to realize is that until we take action, we are simply on the banks of the river watching the water go by. When we get into the river – the actual flow of our lives – we are buoyed; and support comes from the most unexpected places. I have experienced this in spades.

So what does this have to do with our business, our careers, our lives?  To me – it is the marrow.