“Do I stay or do I go?”
Hinge Points are pivotal moments of truth in our life – for some of us, they may be happening right now. Moments that are deeply personal and significant that enable remarkable life changes. An instance, a point in time where strength of character should be shown, or a stand against the odds is required. Here is a story of my very own.
My personal journal entry – Tuesday 17th October 1989. “Today, I had to make one of the most difficult decisions of my life. I endeavoured to organise a line of thought that would actually have a positive frame of mind on the choice, the dilemma I was facing. Do I stay or do I go?”
The day before, I’d just returned from my first trip to the USA, where I had enjoyed the most fantastic 3 week holiday and road trip with wonderful friends.
I returned to my job, Tuesday morning, to find that my employer had turned things completely on their head for me. A great friend, colleague and mentor had been sacked…. Yes… Sacked! In total shock and as I listened in disbelief to what had happened, my heart sank. As the day wore on I became very, very disillusioned. Finishing time couldn’t come quickly enough for me. I went straight to my friends home to determine what had really happened. As I listened to his story, it became clear that I was going to have to make an extremely difficult choice….Whose story was right? And ultimately the consequence…
Stay or Go?
I was 24 years old, still relatively young and inexperienced with the vicissitudes of life and more importantly business political life. What should I do? I returned home and spoke this challenging situation through with my parents. How grateful I was that evening for family who whilst growing up, had taught me strong values and principles .
I shared the reality of the issue and we then considered every possible option that evening. Little did I know it then, but certainly do now, that the coaching around options that my parents gave me that night, has become a stable model in my own coaching profession now, when having to consider choices in life. What was the right thing to do? Could I work for an organisation that did these kinds of things? It was a tough lesson for a youngster in corporate affairs. The night wore on and my last entry of the evening was simply this…”I’ve decided to quit.”
There were many immediate consequences, including difficult conversations and very emotional situations to deal with. However, the upshot was, I handed back the company car, faced up to the reality of unemployment, little money and endured a pretty challenging time for the next 3 months, until another (and better) employment opportunity arose.
Courage requires consequence. If there is no cost, no risk or consequence, then courage is easy – and empty. In fact, as consequence rises, so does the amount of courage needed to take a stand. It is I believe in our very nature to admire those who stand against the odds, many great leaders come readily to mind. However, simply stated, courage is meaningless without consequence.
Where physical courage often prompts others to follow and take action, moral courage can be very isolating. When a person stands on principle, speaks truth to power or tells peers what they are doing is wrong, others will sometimes fall away. In my opinion, moral courage often puts people in a lonely place; and subsequently, extreme strength of character is required by anyone displaying moral courage.
Thomas S. Monson has stated that “Life’s journey is not travelled on a freeway devoid of obstacles, pitfalls and snares. Rather it is a pathway marked by forks and turnings. Decisions are constantly before us. To make them wisely, courage is needed: the courage to say ‘No’ the courage to say ‘Yes.’ Decisions do determine destiny. The call for courage comes constantly to each of us. It has ever been so, and so shall it ever be.”
Each of us will have to face up to ethical and moral challenges in life. The clock continues to tick by, for your very own personal moment of truth to arrive…. and it will. We may not be able to solve every corrupt action in the world, but each decision is taken one by one, by one… by you, me and others just like us around planet earth.
What decision will you choose to determine your own destiny?