OPINION – Some years ago, an influential speaker was paid $20,000 to speak at a prestigious university. He opened his remarks by asking for a show of hands from each person who intended to change the world.
Of the thousands in attendance, only six hands were raised. He invited those six individuals to come and join him there on the stage. The speaker quickly arranged seven chairs in a small circle and sat down to quietly speak to those who had raised their hands.
The audience and onstage dignitaries sat in stunned disbelief. After a few minutes, the university president approached the speaker for an explanation and was informed that his message was only for those who intended to do something with it.
In that same vein, this column is intended purely for those who are willing to lead. Followers are invited to go back to whatever they were doing.
This week represents a unique and necessary leadership opportunity that only comes every two years. It’s the chance to attend and participate in our neighborhood caucus meetings to select delegates for county and state conventions.
It’s easy to find excuses not to attend these caucuses, all of us are busy, few of us find party politics palatable, and we may feel unprepared to lead.
None of these seemingly reasonable explanations can trump this one undeniable truth: your influence is needed. Right now.
This is not the time to hide behind a mask of false humility. Cowards are those people who lack convictions for which they would stand and be counted. If your convictions are strong enough, then you are strong enough to lead.
Do your part and step up by using whatever influence you have wherever you are at this moment. Ignore the little voices that would try to convince you that you’re not good enough. Action is always better than reaction.
It’s not enough to beg off participating because of frustration with an increasingly corrupted two party system. National and even state politics have become the domain of lobbyists and influence peddlers. These power brokers have captured enough of our economic, financial, and political systems that the people have little say in how they are governed.
But the neighborhood caucus is among the last remaining havens where political corruption still struggles to take hold. It’s where we don’t have to depend on appointed or elected ‘experts’ to tell us what to do. This is where our individual leadership is most likely to make a difference.
The influence of good men and women is capital best spent among friends and neighbors who trust them.
Even at the grassroots level, leadership isn’t always easy. For instance, if you take part in your neighborhood caucus, there is a distinct possibility that you may be nominated to become a county or state delegate. If you are chosen as a delegate, you’ll have a great deal of work to do.
Candidates will seek you out to sell you on their candidacy. Voters within your precinct will also need your time to discuss the issues and candidates they consider most important so you can represent them effectively.
This will take many hours of your leisure time and may require you to study issues that you don’t yet understand. That’s part of being a leader.
You’ll also want to take to heart the advice of Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady that: “The uniform of leadership is thick skin.”
There will be times when, as a leader, you will have to choose between popularity and principle. It is impossible to please everyone. Can you take a loss in stride and still be cheerful to those who refuse to support you?
Are you willing to stand for your convictions even when people are calling you names and trying to tear you down? Are you willing to tell political candidates things that they may not wish to hear?
You don’t have to become a politician to be an effective leader. You simply have to be the kind of individual that others would choose to follow.
Our neighbor caucus meetings are simply one place where our influence is needed. There are innumerable other opportunities involving service, charities, teaching youth and other community projects where we don’t have to wait for politicians to figure it out for us.
If you recognize that you have an essential role to play in shaping the world around us, this is your call to action.
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Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives talk show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
Email: [email protected]
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