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STATUS pt 2 -Sparking a Dream

Yesterday I was Blogging about Status and being true to your authentic status.  Great leaders come in high status individuals (Martin Luther King Jr.) or low status (Gandhi).  http://animatingyourlife.com/2013/01/21/status-part-i/

What about times when a higher status character intentionally lowers her status to move into a supporting role.  Here comes one of my favorite moments in history.

Of the many brilliant and inspiring things Martin Luther King Jr. said, the most famous and stirring may have been his “I have a dream” speech on August 28th 1963.  His original intention was to speak about how America had defaulted on her promises to people of color.  He spoke brilliantly and with great energy (very high status).  Then he finishes and starts to sit down.

From the crowd his friend and coworker Mahalia Jackson shouts to him “Tell them about the dream, Martin!” He looks up from his notes, this is a speech he’s given before, it’s not quite ready for an event this important.  He starts to speak about his dream….and changes history.

Mahalia Jackson was the greatest gospel singer of her age; possibly the greatest of all time.  She was without question a high status individual commanding audiences with passion and energy.  She sang earlier in the event and the pressure is now off; she gave up the stage and the status and moved to a lower status support position. With the pressure off, she could see (or feel) that the world needed a different message and she spoke aloud what she knew to be true.

Millions of people were encouraged and uplifted by King’s dream that day.  Hundreds of thousands had tuned in to hear what this “upstart” had to say for himself and were changed as a result of the dream they heard.  They heard about the dream because a high status person choose to move to a supporting role and did it with utter integrity and strength.

When we are in leadership positions, can we be humble and open enough to hear the voices of wisdom that come from our supporters, when we are following, can we be open enough to truly support and brave enough to speak up.

“Tell them about the dream Martin!”

STATUS pt I – leading from authenticity

In my acting classes this week we’re talking about status.  For an actor, status isn’t about the social or economic hierarchy; it’s about who’s in charge, who’s calling the shots and who’s wearing the bossy pants.  Actors are encouraged to find the status battles in their scenes, most characters will at some point fight for status, unless of course you’re a Hobbit who just wants to be left alone, then you’re fighting against status.

Every character has a level of status where they are comfortable – so does every person.  Some of us are leaders; some of us support great leaders.  The secret in life is to know where your real status lies and live authentically there.  This is not a limiting idea.  Don’t think for a minute that lower status characters are the drudges or losers of our world.  Some of my greatest heroes are low status individuals.

Take for example, two of my greatest heroes: Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi.  Here are two men with a very similar message, but with very different levels of energy, or status.  Both were astoundingly focused and true to their authentic selves. Can you imagine Gandhi with a blow horn, shouting out his message of equality and justice?  Can you see King working patiently, gently and quietly for years on end?  King certainly had his gentle side, and Gandhi had NO problems speaking his mind, but they were both strongest and had the greatest impact on our world when they moved with the status level that was most authentic to them.

Status is neither a good nor a bad thing, finding the energy level that works for you, finding your true voice is a VERY good thing.

Check out my next blog when I look at the stunning things that can happen when a high status individual chooses to take on a supporting role.  http://animatingyourlife.com/2013/01/22/status-pt-2-sparking-a-dream/

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