Posted by: healingtheworkplace | June 11, 2008

Be the Change You Wish to See in the World

This famous quote by Mahatma Maghandi is one of my favorites. In essence Ghandi is telling us to step up and take responsibility. I think this quote speaks to the leader in all of us. And yet…so many people feel powerless to make changes in their places of work.

Over and over again I hear competent, intelligent, experienced people complain about bad bosses, co-workers who won’t pull their weight, restrictive policies and procedures, lack of information, bullying, lack of trust, and feelings of powerlessness.

Surely it doesn’t have to be this way?

What is really tragic is that many of these people LOVE the work that they do but hate the places that they work in. I have friends who have quit their jobs or taken early retirement because they could see no other way out.

One fellow worked as a professional engineer for the federal government. Toward the end of his career (he was in his early 50’s at the time) he convinced his superiors to let him work from home.

He hated going into the office everyday. But even working at home did not insulate him from the negative impact of his workplace. He eventually retired at age 55.

This man’s wife was a teacher and her story played out in much the same way. She LOVED teaching but increasing found that the work environment in the schools made it impossible for her to do what she loved.

She also took early retirement and as a society we lost two talented, highly educated, and experienced professionals.

I know that this story is being played out over and over again throughout North America.

In her book, The Tragedy in the Workplace: The Longest Running Show in the Country, Danna Beal has this to say about today’s workplace:

“Many people feel the situation is hopeless and believe they must just live with it. It is like a giant elephant in the living room. Everyone knows it is there and just keeps tiptoeing around it.”

Danna goes on to say, “The problem today is that most people are assigning responsibility for their lives and life situations outside themselves.”

Constantly seeing oneself as a victim and complaining about one’s situation is a recipe for disaster. Victims feel powerless and feel helpless to do anything about their situations.

What would Ghandi suggest? Ghandi had a mission in life. He had a belief in a better world. This is what kept him going.

In order to follow in Ghandi’s footsteps and be the change we need to be able to envision a better future.

Have a great week and don’t give away your power!




  1. I personally have had to deal with a very difficult boss in my workplace. I had a hard time feeling good about taking charge for myself. A co-worker handed me a book called, Dealing With Divas. The title speaks for itself. It truly has helped me to stop whining and start working towards my ideal working environment by taking charge of my life. I am recommending it to my other co-workers now. 🙂

  2. Reblogged this on MOTIVATION with DEHAN and commented:
    This is so true what Leslie said, “constantly seeing oneself as a victim and complaining about one’s situation is a recipe for disaster. Victims feel powerless and feel helpless to do anything about their situations.”

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