I heard a man speak tonight about some of the difficult situations he faced growing up in another country. He discussed his family’s Christian faith amidst overwhelming opposition. One impressive fact: of the 5,000 students in his high school, he was the only one who was Christian. Nearly everyone else was Hindu.
Teenage years are known for peer pressure. It is difficult enough to navigate through the relational and development landmines of youth without being the only one in 5,000 to profess your particular faith. I cannot imagine being in that situation, nor would I make any guarantees on what I might have done in that setting 40 years ago.
Today the gentleman is strong in his faith, and regularly reaches out to those still involved with the religion his family left behind for Christianity many years ago. He endured. He persevered. He survived the ostracism and opposition and is an admirable example of faith in action against all odds.
When I try to apply this man’s experience to a business setting, I can’t help but note how rare it is to find someone willing to be that lone voice in the midst of an entire corporate culture that disagrees. As businesses grow, it is typical for them to become set in their ways, less flexible, more complicated, less open to change and more willing to squelch the voices of those who dare to disagree. That is very dangerous.
Wisdom is not limited to those in certain roles or who hold lofty titles. Wisdom and insight can come from any level of the organization whenever that one lone voice dares to break the silence. He or she may not always be heard and definitely will not always get what they want, but one by one they can begin to make a difference and slowly be the change agents we need them to be.
If you are that lone voice in your company or organization, keep staying true to your convictions regardless of the outcomes. If you are aware of others attempting to be such a voice and you agree with their message, then join them in the cause.
Leap year lesson #105 is Speak your convictions regardless of opposition.