Hello, I'm Cathy and I'm on a Mission
You know those lists that do the rounds on Facebook - the ones about the things only children of the 60s or 80s will remember?
If you're anything like me you’ll start reading through the one for your era and find yourself transported back to a younger, more innocent version of yourself. In my case I’ll suddenly have complete recall about how Spangles looked and tasted, and the sound of millions of ladybirds crunching underfoot during the invasion (if you can’t remember it be grateful. If you can, I’m sorry for reminding you).
There’s one thing that doesn’t get mentioned that often, but that I remember vividly because it seemed so strange to me at the time, even though it was apparently entirely usual.
When I was little there used to be people who walked around town centres wearing sandwich boards that proclaimed
The End Of The World Is Nigh.
The man in my town would sometimes stop outside Woolworth's and preach but mostly he just used to wander around wearing his silent warning to all and sundry that we didn’t have much time left and we should repent now, before it was too late. Nobody took much notice of him, as I recall, and sometime in the 90’s it dawned on me that I hadn't seen him around for years.
Presumably his end had come to him. I’m assuming that he had done his repenting and was able to look Death in the eye with equanimity.
I certainly hope so.
He obviously wanted to make a difference in the world and it would a great shame for him to have died regretting that he hadn’t done that.
Back in those pre-digital days sandwich boards were THE way to get your message across to a large number of people, but although in this case the medium was effective, I’m not sure many people thought the message carried any weight.
Now I don’t know about you, but as I look around me today it feels like the End Of The World Is Nigh preachers were right, if a few decades early.
It seems to me that the world is going to hell in a handcart and I am alarmed.
I am alarmed at the rise of so many proto-fascist leaders and organisations, who seem to thrive on fomenting hatred and mistrust.
I’m alarmed at the huge number of discontented people who seem to think that the way to ease their own unhappiness is to lash out and blame the nearest scapegoat, rather than to examine the real causes for their situation.
And I’m alarmed at the speed with which seemingly solid institutions can start to fall apart under leadership that does not have benign intentions.
It’s clear that I’m not alone in my alarm. The number of protests and rallies grows every day, as does the number of people joining them. And that’s great, it’s a sign that we still have freedom of speech and it can make us feel like we’ve actually done something to make our voices heard and made a difference in the moment.
But I think that if we really want to make a concrete difference we need to take things a step further.
It’s one thing to go on a march with thousands of others, it’s another thing entirely to stand up in your workplace, your family, your community or your congregation and say to those in authority “I think X is unacceptable and I’m not going to accept it”.
And while political protests and petitions and marches have their place, I believe that if more us were to hold the institutions that we belong to to account, if more of us were to call out bad behaviour, lack of ethics, unfair practices, institutional scapegoating and so on, we could turn a tide back in favour of a more ethical, values-driven way of doing things.
Now I’m not saying that’s easy, far from it.
It takes true personal leadership to be able to put your head above the parapet like that.
It requires you first of all to understand what you yourself stand for and are prepared to fight for and then it requires the ability and courage to speak truth to power in a way that will ensure that your voice is heard.
It requires harnessing your personal power to counter rejection and stay true to your principles and it requires you to dig deep and keep going even when it feels like you’re not getting anywhere and are being shot at from all sides.
But I believe that the majority of people are decent, ethical people who don’t like the way things are going and wish the world was a kinder place.
While their hearts might be in the right place though, they lack the confidence or the skills to believe they can make a personal difference.
So I’ve thought long and hard about how I can make best use of my skills to help others make a difference in the world, and thus make a difference myself.
I could walk around wearing a sandwich board proclaiming that The End Of The World Is Nigh and we’re all doomed if we carry on as we are but I’m not convinced that’s actually of much practical use.
I’ve decided instead to put together everything I know about personal and leadership development so that anyone that wants to can learn how to become an effective leader and make a positive difference in their own sphere of influence.
Whoever you are, I’ll be focusing on helping you develop next generation leadership skills with the intention of enabling you to stand up for what you believe to be right.
Now more than ever the silent majority of decent people need to take a lead and say “this is not acceptable”.
The more of us that do that, the better a place the world will become for us, our children and their children.
Are you ready to stand up and be counted?
Never underestimate the power of a few good people to change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has
What Is Ethical Ascendancy?
I’m as mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it any more!
Do you feel like that?
Do you look at the news and think “what the hell is happening out there?”
Do you find yourself humming REM’s “It’s the end of the world as we know it” all the time - and realising that actually you DON’T feel fine about it?
Have you taken to signing petitions, going on marches and sharing angry rants on social media?
And do you feel like the world is going to hell in a handcart but there’s not a damn thing you can do about it?
Yeah, me too.
All except that last bit, the bit about not being able to do anything about it.
I mean, I did feel that way.
From the moment I woke up to the shock of the Brexit vote, to the utter sense of disbelief if felt as I watched the inauguration of He Who Must Not Be Named as President, I felt like I was living in a bad dream.
One of those dreams that are so awful you force yourself to wake up, and then the Nazi Storm Troopers come bursting through the windows shooting at Jenny Agutter*, and you realise you’re still asleep.
But we’re not asleep, are we? (Unless The Matrix was all true, but that’s a different conversation)
Once I’d finished pinching myself (and checking behind the curtain for stray Nazis) I started to think about what I could do to make a difference.
I did some research and found literally millions of people all round the world asking the same basic question:
How can I make the world a better place?
A google search of that sentence brings up 29,000,000 results. I don’t know what it was like this time last year, but I’m betting the number has gone up significantly as a direct result of all the turmoil we’re currently going through.
And I thought OK, so what can I do about it?
I’m not a politician and I have no desire to be one.
I’m not an activist, and I have no desire to be one.
But I have skills and knowledge that could make a real, lasting difference to the world if I use them to help the next generation of leaders - whether they are aspiring politicians, activists, would-be ethical entrepreneurs or fledgling leaders who want to overhaul the toxic culture in their workplace.
If I share what I know about leadership and personal development, in a way that’s
Easy to access
Easy to understand
Easy to apply
Easy to stick with
I can make the world a better place by encouraging and enabling other people to do the same
And that’s why I started Ethical Ascendancy
*"An American Werewolf in London", used to be one of my favourites!
Some people only ask others to do something. I believe that, why should I wait for someone else? Why don't I take a step and move forward.
My Promise To You
My aim is to fill this site with proven, actionable tools and techniques that you can use to develop your leadership skills and presence.
I'll be writing long, content-rich posts on the blog that will take you step by step through an aspect of leadership development so that you
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- consider what it means for you as a leader
- learn something new about yourself
- are able to put your learning into action and then reflect on it in your own leadership role, whatever that is
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What you do has far greater impact than what you say
John C Maxwell