What Do You Have to Lose?

What Do You Have to Lose?The Law of Solid Ground and The Law of Respect played a role in the lives of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, and how those laws helped contribute to the birth of our great nation. Following that theme, here are a few thoughts on what this truly meant for many of them…

Most of us are very familiar with the lives of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, surviving what could very well have been a death sentence and going on to serve as the first and third presidents of their new country. That’s how things went for the rest of the signers too, right? Not so much… For pledging their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor, here’s how things played out for others in that group, according to www.self-gov.org: “Five signers were captured by the British and brutally tortured as traitors. Nine fought in the War for Independence and died from wounds or from hardships they suffered. Two lost their sons in the Continental Army. Another two had sons captured. At least a dozen of the fifty-six had their homes pillaged and burned.”

Had this been a normal group of men that gathered at the local tavern on the weekends and finally decided to throw some British tea in the harbor, this fate would have been bad enough. But this was not a normal group of men. These were some of the most successful, and RESPECTED men in the 13 colonies. And many gave up everything they had to pave the way for what we enjoy today!

In chapter 18 of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, The Law of Sacrifice, John opens with these words: “Why does an individual step forward to lead other people? For every person the answer is different. A few do it to survive. Some do it to make money. Many desire to build a business or organization. Others do it because they want to change the world.” Choosing to lead for any of these reasons has a cost; as illustrated in the lives of those 56 signers… John also says that “as you rise in leadership, responsibilities increase and rights decrease.” That tells me that if I’m trying to lead just to have someone fan me and feed me grapes, I may be in for a surprise!

I’ve not suffered anything comparable to what many of those men endured, but I have certainly had to make sacrifices in the last 15 years to do what I do today. In many cases, that involved giving up time that I could have spent on more enjoyable things. In a few cases, Cindy and I chose to walk away from some significant financial opportunities rather than compromising our integrity. And some things were just hard work…

As you develop your leadership, what sacrifices are you currently making to position yourself to have a positive impact in those that count on you most? What Do You Have to Lose? And how much of that are you willing to give up to make a difference in the world around you?