Fighting the Future

AntisuffragistsTuesday was Election Day. Did you vote? All across the country, men and women took to the polls in order to make sure their voice was heard. Officials were elected or re-elected to a variety of federal, state, and local positions.

Voting is considered an important right in the United States. Once a privilege available to only a favored few, hard fought battles in our history have extended the right to vote to all citizens, regardless of race, gender, or religious affiliation. Sadly, voter turnout is often poor. Many of those eligible to vote choose not to. Some even oppose the very right they’ve been given.

For example, a key milestone in voter rights was the successful women’s suffrage movement. The 19th amendment, which provided women the right to vote, wasn’t passed until 1920. For decades prior, groups opposed to the idea of women having a voice in elections (referred to as anti-suffragists) successfully held off the change.

And many of these anti-suffragists were women.

Groups such as the New York State Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage and the Women’s National Anti-Suffrage League (started in Great Britain) were founded by women. These individuals felt political discourse and important decisions related to public policy were best left to men. They wrote and spoke at length about the various reasons women could not, or should not, vote.

It’s amazing how hard some people will fight against that which is good for them; how hard they will look to find excuses to keep from moving forward. Of course, the harder you look for excuses, the more you find. The more you focus on obstacles, real or perceived, the more you come to believe in them. Over time, people can come to fear the new; the innovative; the unknown. Eventually they become numb to any concept of progress, preferring the warm safety of their self-imposed limitations.

This is how people become unengaged. This is why teams, organizations, and even countries become stagnant. This is why goals aren’t met, customers are underserved, and employees are frustrated.

It’s because individuals check out; sometimes without even knowing it.

Isn’t it time we reverse the trend? Isn’t it time we let go of the fear, stop making excuses, and get engaged?

Permit me to issue a challenge:

  • If you’re one of those who looks first for the reasons why something won’t work, I challenge you to find just as many reasons why it will.
  • If you’re one of those who actively fight against growth and innovation, I challenge you to try being a voice for it.
  • If you’re one of those who have chosen to disengage, I challenge you to get involved.

Politicians often talk about the need for change. But change doesn’t typically happen in huge, sweeping waves. It happens slowly, building momentum over time. It starts with individuals – you and me – taking responsibility for our own actions and choosing to do things differently. Small changes by each of us in the way we approach our work and our lives, expand outward – turning a small ripple into large waves of progress.

So plug in, get engaged, decide right now to make a difference. Oh, and come next Election Day – don’t forget to vote.

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