Thursday, December 27, 2007

Doing the Right Thing

As the year is drawing to a close I'm reflecting on the past 11+ months and considering the lessons learned.

I think the biggest lesson for me this year is you have to do what you think is "the right thing," even if few people - or no one - agree with you. You have to know where you stand, and what you think is right, or you are buffetted by the other forces around you. It was something I already knew, and is even one of my rules for living, but this year it was tested, as it had a practical application in my life.

For more than a third of this year, I was embroiled in a situation where I was often at odds with my peers. Other groups and individuals were acting on us from the outside and the whole scenario left me continually searching my heart to see if I was doing "the right thing."

Of course, therein lies the rub. "The right thing" can be hard to ferret out in the midst of high emotion and drama. I tend to have pretty definitive ideas of what the right course of action is at any given moment. However, that doesn't mean I'm always correct. And I reminded myself of that regularly as we moved through a process. I made a conscious effort to keep an open mind, to be open to possibilities I had not considered, to be honorable in my dealings with every situation that cropped up.

By the end of those months I had some new enemies on "both sides," although it wasn't until recently that I even knew that. Sometimes "the right thing" is a dash of this and a dab of that and a healthy blending of the other thing. I find it nearly impossible when dealing with other humans to be firmly entrenched in only one side. Being honorable, for me, requires a mix. This is very confusing those who don't know where you stand when you aren't standing on just one side of a line drawn in the sand.

But, now is the time, when one has acquired a new crop of enemies, that it's important to feel you did "the right thing." If you have acted honorably, to the best of your abilities, you can be comfortable with your decisions - even if they seemed contradictory to others at times. If you followed your best instinct about the correct course of action, after being open to the options and possibilities presented, it's all you can do - it's "the right thing." And when you've done the right thing, as far as you know of course, you can be at peace with it.

It was eye opening for me to watch the process and the other people involved at all stages. There was some behavior to model and some to eschew. I was reminded that each of us has potential to be the best and the worst of humans. No human action is beyond or beneath us - we simply don't always know what the limits are because we haven't tested them. And I was also reminded that none of us is our worst moment. We are bigger than that. By the same token, we are not our best moment either.

Doing "the right thing" may not be our best moment, but it is at least a good moment.

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