*originally written April, 2016
“…in this world, with great power must also come – – great responsibility”
Stan Lee: American Fantasy #15 (1962)
Truly a great quote. Big figures have said similar things over the years, but no one quite summed it up so perfectly as Stan did.
As a teacher, a leader, a boss, a parent, a public figure… anyone who is looked up to by others, you’re in a position of power. It doesn’t matter if your audience is 3 million followers on social media, 20 people ‘under’ you in your department or one person coming to you seeking advice. Every word you speak, every move you make can have a direct impact on the lives of those looking up to you.
You can build them up, give them hope and confidence, put a smile on their face, brighten their day, lighten their load and lead them to reaching their own personal potential. Or you can break them down, cast a shadow on their life and rob them of their options or growth.
You can do that… yes, you!
To some it may seem like another job or a way to pay the bills, but when you’re in that leadership position, you are given that responsibility… that power.
Will you be one to use that power for good, or will you squander it with a focus only on personal gain.
Yesterday we had the pleasure of working with 40 concerned citizens in a YMCA just over the border of Kentucky. They showed up seeking insight, seeking tools, seeking some semblance of understanding in how they can increase their chances of surviving a terrible scenario.
We were handed great power. Power to mold the way they might respond in a moment that will literally mean life and death. Blank slates, open minds, willing to learn… and we held the pen that could permanently help or harm them.
We were handed a great responsibility.
One we don’t take lightly.
It would be easy to show up and give a lecture. Pass out water and snacks, and just hide behind our pretty power point and our fancy words.
It would be easy to tell them “here’s all you need to do.. and you’ll be safe!”
It would be easier yet, to let someone else do it.
But alas… we can’t do that, because it’s not about what’s easy.. it’s about what’s right. It’s about taking that responsibility seriously.
So we won’t show up and just lecture, everyone must get hands on. Because you can’t tell someone to fight and not show them how strong they are, how much they are capable of and understand that no matter their ability, they have options.
You can’t tell them it will be easy, when we know that’s not true. It’s going to be chaos, it’s going to be scary, it’s going to shake you at your core. You might get hurt. You might get killed. But you deserve better than to be lied to… so we tell you the truth.
And we don’t dare leave this up to just anyone, this responsibility. This power. No…
Because there are people out there that will tell you you’re not big enough, old enough, young enough, strong enough, courageous enough.. to do this. F**k them! They are cowards. They are ignorant. They don’t know you. They didn’t show up here today and push you, they didn’t see the strength deep down inside of you. They don’t know what I know about you… hell what YOU might even know about yourself. But dammit, I do. They don’t care enough about you to learn your story and hold your hand as we walk through this simulated hell together.
We get up early, we leave our families, we take these trips, we put in these hours, not because we want recognition. Not because the pay is incredible (news flash its not). Not because we’re the best in the business. No.. we take these trips because these amazing people took the time to reach out, to show up, to seek out this information. They want to protect their families. They want to feel confident, they have questions. Questions that we just might be able to help with.
My fear… my reason for writing this mash of thoughts at midnight… it’s anger, it’s fear and it’s disappointment… There are so many that don’t take this responsibility to heart. It ignite’s my daigo rage.
No matter your field or position of leadership, you are capable of building up those around you or beating them down into mediocrity.
Don’t be the latter… it might mean life and death.
Be good, stay safe, one love
photo: Tony Blauer teaches a group of LEO/MIL the night before the official kick off of his 2016 Combatives Camp in Vegas