Why your intentions, words, and actions matter — in that order.

“What’s going on in the world?”, is a refrain I often overhear in conversations. More often than not, the comment is defeatist, meaning the person saying it has no plan to take action, get involved, or seek to make the world a better place.

There are at least two reasons for this:

  1. They simply do not care and assume someone else will do it for them.
  2. They feel so disempowered that they have no idea how or where to start.

Sure, there can be more reasons, but to keep things simple, reason #1 is a follower, and reason #2 is someone looking for leadership. Both of the above people are in trouble, because both are acting from a passive position.

The “I don’t care” person might get triggered to act when something hits them close to home. Their actions may be radical and/or not well thought out. They will probably join in with a group-think, online mob attack, or attend a rally.

The disempowered person is living in a kind of fear. If a leader shows up and offers them hope, and easy hope if they follow and do what they’re told, who knows the consequences of that choice.

In both examples the individual’s issue is a lack of critical thought.

If that sounds judgmental hear me out. In Tuesday’s episode I posed the question, Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words? My answer is that words ARE currently speaking louder than actions. Specifically, the actions of hatred and violence have always been with us, rising and falling with history, state, and different types of leadership – anywhere from democracy to fascism and authoritarian rule.

Yet perhaps because of the power of social media, what I’m witnessing is the power of words to inspire and provoke the meek, the followers — those who do not think for themselves — to take action on behalf of someone else’s words. These followers follow blindly, yet with intention and they will tell you they are only doing what someone like a Jordan Peterson, Donald Trump, or Mike Pence told them to do.

In my work as a queer thoughtleader, I am using my writing, speaking, and editing chops to help people think more critically, and to inspire them to stand up for meaningful change, the kind of evolutionary change that will improve the well-being and equality of all people’s. It’s not always easy to take the risk and SAY OUT LOUD the things that may provoke or anger people, especially when I can be the easy target online for someone who disagrees with me.

Funny story: Populism Canada started following me on Instagram. I do not plan on following them back, but it tells me I am on their radar, and they are now keeping tabs on my thought leadership!

I touched on my own fears of leadership in The Reluctance to Lead as Out Gay Men: Embracing Gay Spirit, and why I think it’s so important for me gay men to embrace their unique qualities to create a new style of leadership that may offer a solution to the hateful and defensive hegemonic and patriarchal (men with insane amounts of power and wealth) style of leadership we are witnessing in the United States of America, Venezuela, Turkey, Brazil, and so on.

Further Reading:

Before writing this post I read a new article in The Walrus, “Is the World Getting Better or Worse?”, by Bruce Mau. I was inspired but the content and I have said something similar a couple of times that speaks to the core thesis of this piece, namely,

We cannot survive as a human race much longer with rigid ideologies and dogmatic religions that reinforce a subject versus object paradigm – an us versus them restrictive and prejudicial perspective of the world. One way or another there will be a seismic shift. How we step together forward in unity or discord will determine the framing of that outcome.

Bleak? I don’t think so. I hope my thoughts inspire you and others to take the kind of actions that promote tolerance, diversity, uniqueness, and respect for all human life (which a priori means taking care of the planet).

An invitation

Living OUT Leadership is a small group mastermind for gay men to explore their unique and vital role in society, towards the outcome of leading others in creating a more balanced, evolved and humane world.

If you’d like to discover how to lead from a place of living out the best of who you are, click the button below to book a Discovery session with me.

Cover image: Jurgen Appelo