Just a thought: Holding yourself out for what you believe


What do you stand for? This is a very important question to ask yourself.

What’s at the core of your existence? What is it that shapes and drives your life? What’s non negotiable in your life? There are many ways to take a run at this question.

Do you stand for anything?

There’s a saying that’s attributed to Alexander Hamilton, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for everything.” In other words, he was saying that if you don’t have something you believe in you will believe in whatever comes along.

If you believe you stand for something, do others know what you stand for? Is what you stand for obvious to others who are looking into your life from the outside? Or have you kept what you stand for confidential? If so, what good is standing for something confidentially?

Why not stand on a mountain top and tell the world what you believe in? Are you afraid of what others may think? Are you afraid of being rejected by others?

I introduced a speaker recently and the material given me to introduce him started off with his four highest priorities. The first words to introduce him after saying his name was “His top four priorities are...” I was impressed. How is that for letting the individuals in the group you’re about to influence know where you are coming from in the words you are about to share?

I have a friend who is as bold as a person can be. If you call her and she is not available, her voice message says, “Hi, this is Donna. Sorry I can’t answer your call on the phone right now. Please get back with me soon or know that I will see you Sunday or will call you back. I pray that you can see Christ through me. If not, I have failed. Know that He’s my world. At the tone please record your message...”

Wow! Talk about telling the world both what you stand for and holding yourself accountable! Talk about boldness. I’m impressed each time I leave a message on Donna’s phone as she is not afraid to hold back any reservations about what her life is all about, even for calls from strangers.

If you had to leave a voice mail on your phone stating what you stand for, would you be bold enough to tell any stranger who calls you what your core belief is?

In reality we fear what others think. We fear that someone (or someones) will think less of us if we stand on a mountain top and profess what we believe. We seem to get our “net worth” from the thoughts of others. We recognize that actions bring consequences and we feel insecure. Why not be quiet and not offend others?

If we’re sharing truths deep from our heart and the result is others are offended, isn’t it their fault they choose to be offended? In other words, if we attack or judge others for what they do or say, it makes sense that we are offending others.

But if we say, “I believe...” and are sincere in our comments then we really aren’t talking down to the recipient of our words because they believe something different. It’s alright for others to disagree with what we believe. It’s alright for others to determine if what we say and what we do are the same. They can hold us accountable from the outside not for what we say, but for if our words become actions.

Our job is to take care of who we are and what we do. That can be a full time job for some of us. I sometimes say that all I can control is a three foot circle around me. What I do is up to me. What others do is up to them. I have the ability to influence others, but I can’t control them. With the free will God gave us and all the freedoms America gives us, life is a wide open playing field for each of us.

If our lives are about not offending others, I’m not sure they’re worth living. If you don’t want to offend others be sure you don’t stand for anything and then make sure you don’t speak up about anything that could offend anyone. In other words, put a piece of duct tape over your mouth.

In this polarized world we live in it is virtually impossible to speak out and not step on someone’s toes.

My challenge to you is to first determine what you stand for. Most of you know this already, but some of you may need to focus specifically on what that is. I like the saying, “An eagle who tries to catch two rabbits will catch neither.” Focus on a what you would shout to the world from the top of a mountain.

Then assess whether or not your life and your day to day actions are consistent with what you stand for. Oftentimes we can tell what is important to a person by how they spend their time.

Third, does the world know how you feel? Do you speak out without worrying about the consequences for what you believe in?

These are some important questions, but by answering them you’ll make sure you don’t lollygag your life away, drifting at the whims of others.

Just some important thoughts...

Rick Kraft is a motivational speaker, a syndicated columnist, a published author, and an attorney. To submit comments, contributions, or ideas, e-mail to rkraft@kraftlawfirm.orgmailto:thekraftlawfirm@aol.com or write to P.O. Box 850, Roswell, New Mexico, 88202 - 0850.