Natasha’s Thought of the Day: My Definition of a Coward

A coward is a hilarious yet pitiful sight to see and experience. A coward hides behind aliases, anonymity, avatars, masks, lies, and other people. A coward yells loudly behind mommy’s dress and daddy’s coat, but never stands out and speaks up for the world to see. A coward spits venom like a serpent but is too scared to face those they attack. A coward has little to no self-esteem, self-worth, dignity, or grace, so lacking a spine they sneak around trying to drag others to their level. A coward will hide behind a title but never live up to it. A coward is never dependable, reliable, or consistent…except in their cowardice. They simply exist, but never live, and even in their existence they don’t leave much of an impression.

I’m not too sure if I should feel sorry for the cowards of the world, sympathy, or nothing at all. They are a sad group of people. They can never stand on their own, they can never fight their own battles, they can never truly lead, they always make excuses for their inadequacies, and blame others for their shortcomings. Cowards are always the victim, always the damsel in distress, always the ones needing saving, always the ones complaining about what’s wrong and why they can’t do something. The words, ‘can’t’ and ‘impossible’ begin and end their sentences, and sometimes their days.

Cowards live for revenge, wanting to pay back those who hurt them, but they don’t have the courage to actually face this person head on. Cowards like to pick fights, but never stick around for combat, or they find a way for others to join the fight so their weaknesses are never revealed. They are the ones who spread rumors and cause drama, but in a sneaky, cleaver kind of way–that always make them look innocent. They pretend to be someone they aren’t because they don’t have the courage to be who they were created to be. They are weak-minded, weak physically, weak morally, and weak spiritually. They live in constant darkness; for only in light can one find true strength. It’s no wonder why cowards always prefer playing devil’s advocate, because for them it is too great a mountain to climb reaching up towards hope, possibility, and excellence, when they can use less effort kneeling down towards mediocrity.

I have encountered many cowards in my time, some as recently as today, and I am amazed at how much time they have on their hands to focus their energy on doing absolutely nothing of relevance in our world–except in their minds. It is pitiful that these insecure people spend so many hours of their day thinking about me, plotting and planning against me, and envious of what I have that they wish they had. We all have had our run-ins with cowards like this. See, cowards have plenty of time and energy to spread lies and hate, try to destroy other people’s reputations, families and businesses,  yet they don’t invest the time and energy to bring goodness and love into our world. They don’t have the time and energy to make a positive contribution to society, yet they can waste all of their resources trying to drain someone else and destroy their dreams. They don’t have the time and energy to build, create, innovate, inspire, embrace, uplift, and shine. Yet they have the time and energy to tear things apart, destroy, manipulate, deceive, and play childish games. They have time to send stupid messages and make phone calls to others hoping to make them feel as miserable as they do; post idiotic things on the Internet for even the tiniest bit of attention; make claims without supporting evidence; and just take up much-needed space in the world. They eventually leave this world as they entered it and lived it…clueless!

I have more respect for the person who tries and fails, than the one who never tries. I have more respect for the person with bumps, bruises, cuts and burns from falling down in life, because in their walk I see that they found a way to get back up. I have more respect for the person who comes to me directly, without masks, anonymity and code names, and just speaks their mind. I have more respect for the person who comes right out and confronts me with the goal to fight, than sucker-punch me in the dark. I have no respect for a person who isn’t brave enough to stand up and speak their mind. I say what I want to say, and clearly say my name when I’m speaking. I don’t post to my blogs or anywhere else as “anonymous” or with some made up alias, or using a picture not mine, because I have the courage to speak up, speak out, and back up what I say. My parents didn’t raise a punk, so I don’t cower over like one. I’m no bully and I won’t be bullied–never have and never will!

So I have one last thing to say to the cowards of the world…you can say what you want and do what you want, because just like your anonymity, you really don’t exist!

 

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

>Sharing and Experiencing Love Through Leadership

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Note: Due to Internet connectivity issues I was not able to post to my blog the past few days- so I have been very anxious to get this submission to everyone.
January 29, 2010 I finished reading the book Love Leadership: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World written by my friend, John Hope Bryant. Everyone that knows me knows that I love reading books…I’m a human sponge. Let me be brutally honest…this book is a page turner from beginning to end; no dull moments, no fluff, no superfluous jargon, and no attempt to mislead readers- just love in its purest form…but not ‘soft’ love. If you’re thinking of camp fires and marshmallows then you are far from accurate. John’s delivery is to the point, clear, concise and eloquently raw. He has a way with words, and a gift for showing you how to look within to lead efficaciously and build toward your vision swiftly.
Love Leadership does not need to pound concepts and theories down your throat, or manipulate you into a brainwashed regurgitating ‘puppet’ of theories and catchy phrases; it makes you open your mind and heart and accept whatever limitations that you possess as a leader, and encourages you to seek a positive change, in order to get the desired residual effects from your team/group/family. It encourages you to seek out your desires no matter if professionally or personally, and to focus your attentions on “good” capitalism and not “bad” capitalism…where wealth accumulation does not come at the cost of someone else’s well being or your own. No soul-selling, back-stabbing, shoulder climbing, or cutting of throats here folks!  You can ‘get yours’ the ethical way.
John’s book reinforces my belief that leaders do not need to lead with an iron fist, but rather with love, respect and compassion for the fellow man. John and other well-known and respected leaders share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences on the difference between fear-based leading and one directed in love. Leaders that believe that fear will instill or reinforce the necessary characteristics of disciplined and loyal workers are disillusioned and clearly insecure of their own shortcomings. Leaders that believe that they can cut ‘corners’, overlook unethical behavior or dabble in it ‘this time’ are only setting themselves up for a slippery slope of mania. These leaders eventually fail.
Leaders need to possess a balance of task-orientation and people-orientation in order to lead with a focus on the job at hand and the valued workers that get the job done. When you lead with fear and intimidation you breed contempt and resentment; a sense of inequity grows from deep within and eventually your followers begin to show signs of defiance, which is counter-productive to your organization’s growth and success. 
John Hope Bryant shares five laws of love-based leadership which include:
1.     Loss Creates Leaders
2.     Fear Fails
3.     Love Makes Money
4.     Vulnerability is Power
5.     Giving is Getting
Do not let the tone of these laws confuse your thinking that this book or Love Leaders are somehow soft, weak, or inadequate. Contrary to your preconceived notions to lead in love is exactly what Jesus, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., César Chávez, Albert Einstein, and others did. This is the type of leadership that Nelson Mandela, Leymah Gbowee, and numerous other leaders live by and encourage.
I do not know about you, but from my readings and interpretations, Jesus was nobody’s punk or fool…he possessed a strength, passion, desire, conviction, and wisdom that enticed thousands upon thousands to follow and study under him. Jesus is the only person past or present that could bring out the masses in droves like he did. We are impressed when an entertainer fills an arena or stadium, could you see Jesus as the headliner? Talking about standing room only! Now that is a sign of leadership.  
Love leaders are those who earn respect, they do not demand it or expect to receive it freely. They love people even if they do not like the person’s character or behavior. Love leaders understand that it takes the human element in order for the marketplace to thrive and survive. It takes human compassion to truly reach others and re-charge the dead or dying batteries many people have buried within themselves. It takes a strong person to lead in and with love. It takes a sense of vulnerability to expose some or all of yourself to those you lead so they see “you” and in turn desire to invest in your mission and vision.
Let’s look at an example of turnover rates within organizations. I use this example because it is relevant, especially now during our current climate of unemployment and underemployment.
High turnover rates are a sign to me that leaders within that organization are lacking the adequate skills to lead, motivate, encourage, create and maintain healthy vital relationships. High turnover, whether voluntary or involuntary is a clear indicator of a weakened organization that could fall in time like a house of cards…all it takes is one or two cards to move and it all comes tumbling down. 
If your organization is struggling, showing signs of weakness and defiant behavior, reading and genuinely applying the concepts and laws within John Hope Bryant’s Love Leadership book will help create an immediate shift in your thinking…and that of those you lead who then see and feel a shift in the environment they spend most of their time.
If you are planning a business start-up, and you are in your beginning or middle stages of research and implementation be sure to purchase a copy of Love Leadership to help you while designing your business and marketing plans, and operations manual. [I must insert a shameless plug right here…if you need help with your business start-up contact me for a consultation].  
I would suggest that every man and woman that hopes to take on leadership roles whether in the community, in the workplace, your home, or your church, purchase a copy of this book TODAY! Love Leadership also serves as a great read for book clubs and other groups, wanting to share in the depth and breadth of this wonderful principle, movement, and way of being; simply called…Love Leadership!
This book needs to be a part of every organization’s and home-based library worldwide. I share this book review with love and the deepest level of respect…enjoy!
Love Leadership can be purchased at: Amazon.com, BN.com, Borders.com, BAMM.com, through audible.com, and iTunes, and of course at a book retailer near you.
Copyright © 2010 by Natasha L. Foreman. All rights reserved; except displayed images.
 

Image of Love Leadership book retrieved from http://johnhopebryant.com/ with permission
Image of woman at finish line source credit: Getty Image/Getty Image retrieved from www.marieclaire.com/…/running-medium-new.jpg   
Image of screaming woman source credit:  http://ashleybolivar.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/anger.jpg
Image of “Unemployment” source credit:   http://jobjabber.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/unemployment.jpg