My father told me something very valuable when I was about 15 years old. I had asked him to help me with a school problem, a social problem occuring in my class. Instead of telling me directly what to do, he did something else: he told me that in life there are only three considerations when a situation presents itself that is not comfortable as it stands, and that those three considerations are always changing with each new dilemma:
1. You can remain unmoved
2. You can be moved
3. You can be the mover
Unmoved could mean remaining silent, or it could mean dismissing it in ones mind. Or, it could mean being resolute.
Moved could mean letting another lead you and following, or consciously allowing yourself to be used. Or it could mean being fired!
The mover. We know what that is. It is leadership, it could be practicing coercion! It could be becoming the CEO, or the head of a motorcycle gang, or it could mean that we change things, hopefully for the better.
I obvioulsy never forgot this lesson even though I have forgotten what that immediate problem was that sparked his wise counsel. I use this reasoning often. It helps me be, or at least feel, decisive. It works in just about every situation I can think of, including going out on ladies' night once a week and listening and responding to each of my friends. It works with my children and grandchildren, with my clients, with my husband, my committees, with the auto mechanic, with the guy who comes to fix stuff in the kitchen and tries to peddle me something newer. I always have a place, options at any given moment. This was my father's gift to me, the gift of empowerment.
I would love to hear others' ideas on this concept.