Our lives are like scales. We are not always able to balance out the good and the bad, the easy and the difficult, nor the love and the hate, however there is an unspoken understanding that while it is preferred both sides are equal, the outcomes of what is weighed does not always grant us desired results. Balance is essential in life to being manageable, but the understanding of balance and imbalance is essential in life to grow beyond being manageable.
Our scales of life are balanced by commitments we make to ourselves, in the work place, and our homes. Quite often it is easy enough for one commitment to outweigh the other thus creating an imbalance in our lives. Balance is created from weight and counterweight. Just as weight is applied in the form of pressure on a daily basis, our counterweights in the form of exercise, relaxation, or many other healthy activities help us to maintain our stress to a manageable level.
My message to you is the importance of understanding your own balance and imbalance.
I have prided myself on knowing as much about the members of this chapter as they do themselves. I have seen many of you grow from prospects to members and members to officers and veterans. Just as I have seen you develop your strengths, I have also seen your weaknesses. True is, balance is achieved through strengths AND weaknesses. An individual who feels they lack weakness does not recognize their potential for continuous growth. Having weakness does not mean you are not physical fit, emotionally sound, or not academically gifted, it means somewhere in your personal makeup you have the opportunity to improve yourself. Recognizing this potential is the single most important ingredient in creating an attitude conducive to the growth of any individual in any type of environment. People tend to focus in that which they are good at or developed in. Have you ever worked out in the gym and seen an individual with a developed upper body and underdeveloped lower? The typical conclusion is the focus is on the upper body and probably because the upper body is the part which gets the most notoriety or is identified by the individual as the focus area based on their interest. What people like this fail to realize is, the imbalance of musculature could lead to serious injuries. Much like this example, when we focus on only what we are good at, we open ourselves up for risk of injury. This imbalance comes in different forms, but today I will focus on four: Leadership, Recognition, and Roles.
In leadership, it’s easy to focus so much on being an effective leader, you forget how to follow the lead and more importantly demonstrate to others on being an example follower. This is often captured as the “do as I say, not as I do” mentality. Those who specialize in this form of leadership may experience some success, but place themselves at risk for achieving lack luster results when it comes to leadership from a longevity perspective. One of the most characterized phrases used is “remember where you came from”. This phrase is critical because it brings harmony to the accomplished. Being humble with accomplishment sets the tone for the type of leader you will be. Even the most assertive leaders such show a form of humbleness. Many great leaders are not characterized talking about their accomplishments; they are characterized by the nature of the way the accomplishment was achieved. They are recognized by the effort, not the reward.
Everyone likes to be recognized at some point. Sometimes, being recognized for something is not always as a person intended. People who feel the need to advertise themselves often are met with adversity. Broadcasting your life builds a huge imbalance on two major levels. First, no one appreciates a person who is constantly talking about themselves. Building relationships with people involves more than just them getting to know you, but it is imperative to get to know them as well. The imbalance is a person becomes so oversaturated with what you are telling them, they soon tune you out. At this point, you have failed to become an interest in their personal agenda, so while you are speaking to make them aware of what you have accomplished, you are recognized for not showing interest in anything else besides yourself.
Second, broadcasting your life kills any interest a person could have in getting to know you. Have you even been to a motivational speaker or a briefing and at the end of the speakers’ time, they ask, “does anybody have any questions?” In situations where no one has any questions to ask, it’s common there are no questions because the speaker has failed to capture the listener’s interest OR everything has been answered in its own capacity. When you show reserve in what you tell people, believe it or not, it gathers interest and often sets the platform for an open dialogue between people or groups. It also gives the other person a chance to identify themselves with like topics.
One component which fails in an operational body is the imbalance of roles. The balance of roles is not just the breakdown of leaders and members. The balance is made of those who teach, and those who learn to teach. Those who lead are often not those in charge. While leadership roles are identified, an imbalance is created when only those identified in the roles of leaders actually lead. Each person in an organization has a role as an educator. Some educate themselves, while others educate those around them. The role of the veteran/ experienced is the most critical component in this relationship strand. The role of the veteran is a double edged sword in the fact they are responsible for being good role models for those with less experience, as well as being the “go-to person” for leadership to count on. One plague veterans have in organizations is the reluctance to change. The “I’ve been doing this for x amount of time” ideology is one that gets many Vets in hot water with others. Sometimes this blends with the problem of recognition as well. I think we all have had that one person at work that tells the same stories over and over again about the same situations. This person has failed to evolve into new situations and it begins to inhibit progression. The single most important ingredient in the recipe for a good veteran is to realize evolution begins with them. As veteran’s have a responsibility to teach, sometimes what is taught is detrimental. Those who resist change teach reluctance to others and demonstrate the most effective methods to resistance lack of commitment and lack of effort. Demonstrating being choosiness in participation teaches others to be just as selective. Selectivity creates imbalance in achieving goals. Drops of water do not move much, but accumulate that water and move it as one and you can move anything.
These are just examples of balance and imbalance and how I see they could affect anyone or any organization. The one thing I will leave all who read this message is to consider your balance, and learn to balance your commitments, your attitude, and your goals. They each play a role in how successful you will be and how successful whatever you are a part of will be. From a Hartford Ruff Ryder perspective, our success as a chapter is driven by no one person, its all of us. The minute we lose sight of that and bask in our accomplishments rather look forward to strengthen ourselves, one part of our bodies becomes weakened and susceptible to injury. Balance your commitments and show just cause to them equally. Planning ahead to involve yourself in what you commit to very important. The minute you treat something as an option expect to be met as an option equally. If you have to “check your schedule” all the time, expect the same treatment from others when it is your turn to be one in need of a favor, support, a riding buddy, or even a pick up. Instead of meeting a lesson with a question of circumstance or opposition, question yourself on what the intent of the lesson actually is….Only through lesson is learning achievable. We can achieve anything we choose using our own talents. My motto has always been to “Think Big, Start Small, and Move Quickly”, and this is a key ingredient in this roadmap.
Understand your balance and imbalances, not only is it important to you, it’s important to me.