I didn’t much like the words I heard.
I had signed up for an eighteen-month leadership training course and thought we’d ease into the learning, kind of like the first day or two of a college class. Instead, right off the bat we heard, “You are the highest leverage point in any system you are a part of.”
Everyone else was giving thoughtful “hmmms” and “ahhhs.” I think one guy even struck a Rodin’s The Thinker pose. My initial response was more of a “huh?”
Fortunately our facilitator began to unpack his terminology. “Highest leverage point” means that you can make a difference. You don’t have to wait around like you’re in line at a Wal-Mart for someone else to move before you could move.
And a “system” was defined as any group of people you are connected to. It could be your family. It might be your workplace. It could be a sports team or a church group.
I didn’t much like those words. It was much easier to think that when something needed changing or improved or fixed it was up to “someone else” to get the ball rolling. Certainly I wouldn’t be the one responsible.
But now I had to consider the possibility that maybe I could do something. I could have an impact.
For example, when a husband and wife find themselves in a lull in their relationship and they’re stuck in a rut, how will they get out? He thinks she should make a first move so he waits. She thinks he should make the first move so she waits. The waiting room is an unexciting place to be.
Or you see something that isn’t working at work but you think, “That’s not my responsibility.” And although you can see it when no one else can you remain silent. And nothing changes.
What if instead you did something? You took whatever level of influence you do have and used it to change the system?
- You bring home flowers for a change.
- You tell your husband how you are proud of him.
- You find a way to help your boss meet a deadline.
- You tell your son you are sorry for your harsh words.
- You take the first step to repair a relationship.
- You make the phone call, write the note, or extend the invitation.
Archimedes famously said “Give me a place to stand and with a lever I will move the world.” See yourself as the lever in your systems today. Find something you can do to make it better.
Then watch your world begin to move.
What about your thoughts? Where are some other places you can be a high leverage point?
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