There is a natural perception of what happens on first response; action. When the World Trade Center towers fell, New York’s mayor went into action. When firefighters respond to a crisis, they spring into action. When someone is hurt, medics, firefighters, and doctors go into action. The common thread across every situation is a single word, action.
The natural response applies to every situation. When something is needed individuals and communities act. People expect to see movement, changes, and results. Unless the blur is in motion frustration quickly sets in. We expect instant responses; from websites, emails, telephone calls, cries of help, even conversations of despair.
I find my natural perception comes from a distance. When I get up close there is an initial act that is, in itself, a necessary and important first step. The act is actually two-fold. One must assess, hear, listen, and understand, what is going on before anything can follow. There is no point responding without understanding. Second, one must consider take counsel, and plan before one moves into action. There is little point in doing something, anything before one has a sense of the journey and destination.
There is ample evidence of this process working. Throughout history, strong leaders have taken this approach. In one situation, “Hezekiah took the letter from the hands of the messengers and read it. Then he went into the sanctuary of God and spread the letter out before God.” (Isaiah 37.14) In others, leaders retreated and spent time in meditation. Regardless of the situation, first responders assess and plan. New York’s mayor gathered details, listened to the advice of experts on the ground, developed an approach, and only then went into action.
You and I face the unknown today. Things may go well or not. Regardless, we will act. The only question is how. Will our response be just that, an emotional, gut-level reaction? Will we respond using our intelligent and the Spirit of Compassion, Mercy, and Love? I know what works. The challenge today is to follow it in every circumstance, carpe diem!
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