I remember the day when I realized that there was more to life than results. Outcomes, important, defining, and impactful, are secondary to how one got there. As adamantly as I believe in this, I am also struck by the difficulty of evaluating the journey. Ideas driven by good intentions do not always work. People with good hearts can harm others, without intent or malice. For a long time I cannot have struggled with a universal measure for steps along the journey.
I see to have forgotten the obvious question, why? In the absence of someone stating the why, one can look at the steps through the lens of holistically making things better and see if they come into focus. If one is not sure, why not ask?
I already know I will find this challenging.
It can be difficult to ask why with an open mind. Pre-judgment, bias, and conclusions all play into one’s attitude, body language, and tone.
If one is open, the answer may be difficult to accept or deal with. Candor can cut deep. Honesty can be a blunt instrument.
As I wrestled with the why, a second question came into focus. When I am trying to help a team succeed, why trumps – my success or the ideas I am hoping they adopt? In short, why am I trying to get them to change?
Male ego, the need to dominate, suggests that I can do both. Regardless of the answer, I am still let with the obvious. Ideas adopted or personal glory; which comes first?
One victory noted his triumph; “I nailed them; they were down for good; then I walked all over them.” (Psalm 18.38) I wonder, did he do it physically? Was his victory about personal glory or the winning idea?
An adversary was asked a question; his answer was my idea. My opponent was holding something great. I found myself feeling good and wondering why I did not care about the triumph. I realized I still had a winning idea, there were no losers, and we all won.