I once met a group of remarkable young people who taught me a valuable lesson I’ll never forget…If you want to see change, you have to be and speak change. That simple formula is the catalyst that fuels complex personal, business, and societal transformation.
Many years ago, I was chosen as part of a city wide grant program to teach discipline and self-respect through the martial arts, to a group of “troubled” inner city youth. On that first day, twenty obnoxious, disrespectful, and self-centered boys and girls entered the dojo. I admit that within the first ten minutes, I had concluded this was a terrible mistake and a complete waste of time. Despite my better judgment, I continued to teach and at no surprise to me, these kids could care less about what I had to say or offer.
I had written them off, when the words of the grant program administrator came floating back into my mind, “They don’t have many who believe in them. They just need someone to show faith in them.” It suddenly made sense…If everyone was against them, and no one believed in them, why would they change? Our words and actions are tools we use to create, and thus far, what had been created for these kids by parents and teachers alike, was distrust and disbelief. If I expected to see change, I had to be and speak change.
During the ensuing months, my actions and words toward them transformed. I began to see them not for what they were, but what they could become. As a result, twenty boys and girls transformed into young men and women, achieving personal change and growth that everyone in their lives deemed impossible.
Legendary CEO Jack Welch once said that “giving people self-confidence is by far the most important thing that I can do. Because then they will act.” Much like those inner city youth, life changing transformation springs from an unquenchable determination to focus not on where you’ve been, but where you’re going. Be change, speak change; see change. You’ll become the oracle of action in achieving the impossible.