In the past few years, I have been involved in many aspects of the both the criminal and social justice systems. And, this involvement has been both in correctional services, as an investigator for social justice issues, and as a leader and counselor in an employee assistance program. In each of these experiences,
I have found many people who are on the edge of a precipice and one which could easily see them turn to either a life filled with more severe criminal activity, or a life that sees them constantly looking for someone else to blame for their past and current circumstances, and those who are so stressed from work and family issues that they are already barely able to make it through a day.
You might wonder if there is a common element running through these people, or a particular attitude, or characteristic that each has in common?
If it had not been for all of these experiences, I may have answered too quickly by saying that there is no commonality among all of these people. But, that is not my answer today.
I am not going to suggest by any means that everyone can be changed or influenced to be a model citizen, or able to alter their behavior totally, or to handle all stress. What I will say, however, is that if a person truly wants to change, to be something more than they are now, or who desires to change their life to be able to manage their environment better, then there is every opportunity to do so with the right guidance, assistance, and encouragement.
The real secret here is this: if you really want to change your life, you can - it is a choice and a choice you must make for yourself, by yourself, and despite what others may want.
"Sow a thought, and you reap an act;
Sow an act, and you reap a habit;
Sow a habit, and you reap a character;
Sow a character, and you reap a destiny." ~ Charles Reade
I met a man who years ago had struggled within the confines of a large organization. He worked hard in his specialty area and, in my view, had a very promising career ahead of him. We became good friends and often made time in busy schedules to have lunch together.
On one such lunch meeting, we sat and talked about what we were dealing with in terms of some of our projects and issues we needed to address. As we delved further into one of his concerns, he stopped abruptly in mid sentence. He then said he needed to speak to me confidentially about something. I agreed.
He then proceeded to tell me that he was having a lot of difficulty with what was being asked of him in dealing with a union staff issue. His instructions were clear from his superior. He was to lie to them - plain and simple. He was to mislead the union representatives - it was his responsibility, in other words, to lead them down the garden path so they would not know what was really happening.
It wasn't that he hadn't communicated with union members before. But, in his view, it was one thing to be vague and quite another to lie. It was not his nature to be dishonest with anyone.
He had a choice to make and it clearly was a choice that would shape his destiny especially if his choice was contrary to his own beliefs and standards. It was not a cut and dried choice - if he chose to lie, he would be setting sail on a new destiny; if he didn't lie, he would be choosing basically to set a new destiny and that was one certainly not within his current organization.
We all make choices - we can all teeter from time to time on the precipice of life's choices.
You can decide to change your values, or you can decide to change your destiny, or you can decide to set a new sail, or to keep your own ship sea worthy. You are probably wondering what his decision was?
His choice was very decisive - he was in charge of his own destiny not someone else. He decided to remain loyal to his values - he left the organization refusing to lie. His destiny was clear.