Driving Your Stake in the Sand:
Owning One's Destiny
by John E. Renesch
I was told once that nothing meaningful ever happens until someone
takes a stand. I know that my life changed very dramatically one day in
1985 when I took a stand on a personal issue, between myself and
another person. It had to do with walking tall for my own self-respect
after many years of repeated cycles where I compromised myself in
order to please another.
In my professional life, particularly in my work on transformative
leadership in the past decade, I learned that the really great leaders
take their "place in the universe" and stand tall for their role, their
responsibility, their choice in that stance.
Some of the people who've done this have included Czech president
Vaclav Havel, Jane Goodall, South African president Nelson
Mandela, Mother Teresa, Jonas Salk, Copernicus and many other
less well-known people throughout the ages.
One of the people I most admire is a woman named Lynne Twist.
Lynne is a living example of someone who has clearly taken her stand
in the world. She is a founding executive for The Hunger Project and
serves on several boards, including the Institute of Noetic Sciences,
the Fetzer Institute and the State of the World Forum - an annual
event originated by the Gorbachev Foundation in 1995. In the Fall
1999 article of Yes! A Journal of Positive Futures, she writes about
the power of taking a stand :
Over two thousand years ago, the mathematician Archimedes said,
"Give me a place to stand, and I'll move the world." Taking a stand is
a way of living and being that draws on a place within yourself that is at
the very heart of who you are. When you take a stand, you find your
place in the universe, and you have the capacity to move the world.
Stand-takers have lived in every era of history. Many of them never
held public office, but they changed history through the sheer power,
integrity, and authenticity of who they became as a result of the stand
they took….When you have taken a stand with your life, you see the
world as the remarkable, unlimited, boundless possibility that it is.
And people see themselves through your eyes in new ways; they become
more authentic in your presence because they know you see them for
who they really are.
Buckminster Fuller once said, "When you discover the truth, it is
always beautiful, and beautiful for everyone with no one left out." This
is also true of taking a stand.
Lynne then goes on to make a distinction - the difference between
taking a "position" and taking a "stand." She writes: Taking a position does not create an environment of inclusiveness and
tolerance; instead, it creates even greater levels of
entrenchment, often by insisting that for me to be right, you must be wrong.
Taking a stand does not preclude you from taking a position. One
needs to take a position from time to time to get things done or to
make a point. But when a stand is taken it inspires everyone. It
elevates the quality of the dialogue and engenders integrity, alignment,
and deep trust. Taking a stand can shape a person's life and actions
and give them access to profound truths that can empower the
emergence of new paradigms and a shift in the course of history.
Lynne's words remind me of the enormous power of commitment, the
power of taking a stand for something you really believe in, and
seeing major changes happen in the world. And, there's plenty of
stands to take and any of us can do it.
1999 © John E. Renesch
AS A CO-SIGNER OF:
John E. Renesch
is a veteran businessman with over thirty years
experience as a business owner, principal or
entrepreneur. In his business career he served as CEO of
a real estate investment company, President of two NASD
broker-dealer firms, and managing principal for several
other enterprises, including a weekly newspaper, an
advertising agency and a promotion company. He is now a
full-time futurist, business philosopher, writer and
keynote speaker on topics that integrate the subjects of
business, human consciousness and possible future
scenarios for humanity.
has been interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, The
Nikkei Financial Times, Business Week, CNBC-TV's
"Management Today Show," Chief Executive
magazine, National Public Radio, Forbes and Industry
Week magazines on the subject of consciousness and
been said that Renesch has caused more writings on the
subject of consciousness and business or organizational
life to be published than any other person in the world.
Over three hundred authors have contributed to twelve
anthologies which he has compiled since 1990, while
serving as Editor-in-Chief for a progressive book
to 1997 Renesch served as editor/publisher of The New
Leaders business newsletter. From 1990 to early 1992 he
was Managing Director of the World Business Academy, an
international association focused on new paradigms for
commerce. He is a radio commentator for Wisdom Radio and
serves on the advisory board of The Park, an Internet
community with a half million members in over 200
Bennis, best-selling author of leadership books for
nearly twenty years, calls Renesch "a wise elder
who shines with wisdom." Stanford School of
Business' Michael Ray calls him "a beacon lighting
the way to a new paradigm." The Futurist magazine
called him a "business visionary" in its
January 2000 cover story about the 21st
latest book is Getting to the Better Future: A Matter of
Conscious Choosing (New Business Books, 2000). More
information about him can be found on his Web site: www.Renesch.com
or email him at: