Once our intention is set toward making change in this world–and we start actually doing the hard, uncomfortable work–it’s typically not very long before we encounter resistance.
There is the capital R Resistance that Steven Pressfield talks about, where our own fear of failure or looking stupid is the dragon we must slay.
Then there are the powerful defenders of the status quo, individual and collective, who seek to thwart our progress at every step.
Few people sign up for Mission Impossible, but bringing transcendent art to the world, deploying meaningful innovation, creating a profound social movement or engaging in just about anything else that challenges strongly entrenched norms is, minimally, Mission Difficult.
Now maybe you can be the change you want to see in the world all by your lonesome self. Maybe. But chances are you’re going to need a bigger boat.
To be sure, not all of us are wired for this work. And certainly we can’t individually carry the load for every mission worth pursuing. But we can make a choice when we encounter the folks who are out of the stands and onto the field.
Are we an ally, generously giving to others’ efforts where we can and, otherwise, cheering them on?
Are we a bystander, not actively engaging in the work, but also being certain not to stand in the doorway blocking traffic?
Or are we the critic, the obstructionist, finding every conceivable way to undermine the courageous efforts of others.
Here as usual, Brene Brown has wise advice: “If you aren’t in the arena getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.”