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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Nelson Mandela and YOU


In recent days much has been said and written about the late great Nelson Mandela.
People far wiser than I have made assessments of his life and his legacy.

But the one lesson that I will take away from Mandela was his ability to not "tolerate" situations which he believed to be wrong. No matter how scary the implications were to resist the status quo.

We all tolerate and accept the status quo in a variety of situations. Situations which are not even in the same league as apartheid.

In our professional lives there are some common areas we tolerate:
We tolerate pointless rules and policies
We tolerate incompetent and disrespectful managers, co-workers and clients
We tolerate a job or career which we dislike
We tolerate a lifestyle that we've fallen into rather than one which we've chosen
We tolerate being undervalued and underpaid
We tolerate hiding our talents instead of fully utilizing them

We put up with these situations because the opposite of tolerating them is usually scary, uncertain and usually involves an investment of time and effort.

So it becomes easier to just 'fit in', to accept and delay.

But there will come a time when you can no longer tolerate the status. When you finally have the fire in your belly to resist and initiate change.

And when you do, you'll spin your wheels and usually face some major set backs. You'll have pangs of self doubt and start questioning yourself.
But as the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa showed - those struggles and dark days are all part of the journey to a brighter future.

And as Nelson Mandela showed, it all starts with one person, one day being courageous enough to say "no" and refuse to tolerate the status quo.

3 Questions for you:

1) What are you tolerating right now?
2) How can you start resisting and saying "no"...?
3) What's the next step?


"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear"

- Nelson Mandela

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