There are lines in all of our lives. Lines you wont cross, no matter what. Tact, diplomacy, flexibility, giving way, graciousness and compassion; they are all valuable and precious skills. They can be traits one is born with to the blessed and skills for those committed to learning and adapting them. However they become part of who you are, each one makes the whole shine just a little brighter.
As people, as parents, professionals, teachers or teammates and as leaders; we focus on these traits and skills. We learn them, hone them, and make them our own. We improve ourselves with them; make using them part of who we are in every moment of our days to become better at who we are.
Let’s go a little deeper with this. We will add a whole pile of stress and pressure, a good helping of responsibilities and obligations, throw in a few unexpected blows, a natural disaster or two and add a betrayal for a thorough, complete and crushing melt-down.
Hold the Line
Where is that line, that line you won’t cross to receive just a moment’s respite? Where will you refuse to bend, when will you stop using all the tact and diplomacy you have practiced and perfected and made such a part of who you are? How many times will your back stand being shoved against the wall? Will you stand down? Or will you stand for what you know is right and good?
As an Alaska Guide Trainee, this line has to be drawn long before you receive your Alaska Guide License. It is the supporting frame to your professional ethics. As a leader, it is very much the same. There is a time to listen and consider and even a time give way, to keep the peace or even smooth over tensions (kind of a “pick your battles” approach) but there is always the line.
Are you worried? Here are a few of the tips and lessons I have learned over the years, first working on the farm with the hired men, then in the US Navy and for more than 20 years now living and working with Pioneer Outfitters.
How to Hold the Line:
- Decide. Do you know what line you are drawing in your own mind? Be it an ethical line or a personal one, have you decided? Believe me, this has to be acknowledged by you, first. Others will notice when you have made a decision and this will help you to hold to that line.
- Believe in Yourself. You have to be the first one to believe in you. Your choices. Your experience. Your knowledge. It starts with you.
- Attitude is Everything. Other people can see it as easily as they see what color shirt you have on. Be aware of the tone of your voice. Be conscious of your facial expressions and body language. Be aware of the direction of your own thoughts- you are in control of you; act like it.
- Ask for Help. You are not alone. Ask a trusted friend for advice or support. Ask a team member to stand with you. Let the Boss know what is going on. Just remember, you are not alone. Don’t give in, hold your line.
Hold your line. You have an instinct for what is good and right as well as your own knowledge and experiences to draw from. We each have to stand for what is right. I will and I believe you will too.