I was insulted a few weeks ago. Not very well, but I was insulted.
Someone who only identified his/herself as “Ex-Brantforder” decided to take a shot at me via a local website by calling me a cult leader. It all arose out of the public baptismal service we (Freedom House) held in Harmony Square on July 15th.
To be honest, after 30 years in a vocation that is open for public scrutiny, the “cult leader” insult is both ill-informed and over-used. Upon further investigation, “Ex-Brantforder” would have found out that I have too little money, too few concubines and not enough Kool-aid to be a cult leader.
To be totally honest, I grow weary of over-used, uncreative scorn from afar. I invited “Ex-Brantforder” for coffee, so I could fill in some missing information he/she had about us (me and Freedom House) and correct him/her about most of his/her mis-information, but he/she didn’t respond. The truth is, I never expected a response: most of the 10% never give their name or respond to actual, intelligent discourse.
I stopped listening to the 10% long ago!
What is the 10%? Glad you asked? The 10% are the people that are never happy with anything that leaders do. They are ‘experts’ on everything except, of course, objective observation and dialogue. The 10% is the group of individuals in every social group or society that see it as their purpose in life to be intentionally negative and disagree with everything and everyone around them. For the record, I am not writing for pity. It didn’t take me long to realize that if you choose a public profession, that there will always be the 10%.
I am writing on behalf of the people that don’t know about the 10%. I am writing on behalf of those who have stepped out to lead and been criticized by those who don’t attempt anything to make our city or the world a better place. I’m here to Advocate for public leaders… people like:
Dave Carrol, aka Captain Kindness, who prances around in a red leotard to spread the powerful message of KINDNESS. I don’t know what reward there is for people who are super-heroes who never wanted to be a super-hero, but whatever it is, Dave Carrol should get it. Joan Minnery, who got off her assets, her own words, to find a new healthy life and inspired many others to do the same. Jamie Stephens, who works hard at bringing entertainment to a city he loves.
Josh Bean, who had a vision for a place for the arts and followed through against the odds. Gabriel Kirchberger, who saw something in a run down inner city when seemingly every one else was running away. MP Phil McColeman, MPP Dave Levac and Mayor Chris Friel – I consider these men my friends and honour them for the very difficult job they do every day. Lucas, Andrew and Marc, who started the Advocate, so people could tell stories that will be another catalyst that changes the narrative over our city.
I raise a toast to you (and the 100’s of others like you), who consciously and intentionally choose to lead in your various fields regardless of the opposition from the 10%.
As I wrap up, let me give you a quick list for leaders or potential leaders, regarding how to lead in spite of the 10%.
- Determine to know yourself – Be aware of your own gifts and calling. Be aware of what you are NOT good at. Be secure in who you are.
- Develop friends – Intentionally give the right people the ability to speak ANYTHING into your life. Isolation will kill you and your vision (or warp it).
- Determine that you will spend your time, money and energy on things that is worthy of criticism. If you expect ease, you will be crushed. If it’s easy to do – it’s probably done – if it’s really easy to do, it’s probably not worth doing.
- Decide what is realistic – Prioritize. Evaluate and keep evaluating. “You can please some of the people some of the time” – be content with that. Pleasing “all of the people all of the time is not realistic.”
- Determine that you will be a person of Integrity. Be someone worth following. Understand the seriousness of your choice to lead. John Maxwell says, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” I agree. If you have chosen or are choosing to be a leader, recognize the severity of that choice. Winston Churchill said: “The price of greatness is responsibility.”
- Develop a thankful attitude – You are where you are because people helped you get there. You are still a leader because people are helping you. The people are more important than your next big event, or next BIG win.
- Develop an inquisitive mind – Read, research, see what others are doing.
- Decide that you will honour other leaders – Tell them when they are doing a good job, learn how to disagree honourably.
- Develop a “soft heart and tough skin”. The 10% is always out there and one of the unfortunate effects of the 10% is that they cause leaders to develop tough hearts and soft skin if we’re not careful.
- Determine that you will acknowledge God in the midst of it all (let’s be honest, you should have expected that one from a Pastor).