Frederick Douglass was an extraordinary African-American social reformer, speaker, and statesman, and one of the most prominent leaders of the abolitionist movement to end slavery in the U.S. in the mid 1800s. Two quotes from his body of work have inspired this article on living what matters through heart, hands, and feet.
The first quote speaks to me about the current breaking open in my country and in the world:
The life of a nation is secure only
while the nation is honest,
truthful, and virtuous.
The second inspires me to respond to that breaking open through action as well as presence:
I prayed for twenty years
but received no answer
until I prayed with my legs.
It’s one thing to talk about what is important to us in our families, in our countries, and in our world. Or to pray for the healing of our nation. Or to hold a vision for the kinds of leadership that will serve a greater good. Or to hope for a world that works for all.
However, praying, holding a vision, or hoping, by themselves, are not enough. It’s really about how we live our vision into reality. It’s about how we put our talk, prayers, visions, and hopes into action.
Living Your Vision Into Reality
Last week, I wrote about some of the things we can all do to make a difference in society, in politics, and in policy in our lands. We hold in our hearts the things that matter the most to us. Transformational Presence is rooted in heart intelligence and comes alive in the partnership between presence and action, between being and doing.
Showing up in the most impactful ways means living what matters to you through your hands and feet as well as through your heart. It means walking your talk. Or in Frederick Douglass’ words, praying with your legs. Your walk becomes your prayer. In fact, it ultimately becomes a lot less about the talking and a lot more about the walking.
In the February community call for graduates of the Transformational Presence leadership and coaching courses, Scott Cordrey from the U.K. introduced the term super-spreader. It’s a term commonly used in the field of epidemiology to describe people who, often unknowingly, carry a highly contagious virus and infect many people very quickly.
However, Scott suggested that we could re-purpose that term. He invited us to become intentional super-spreaders—not spreading a virus, but instead spreading love, dignity, and mutual respect through Transformational Presence. Being super-spreaders in this way means taking our values to our hands and feet—praying with our legs.
When We Live What Matters To Us, People Notice
When we live what matters to us through our choices, decisions, and actions, people notice. When we live each day in ways that make a difference for others, people notice. When we make choices and take actions rooted in clear intentions to serve something bigger than ourselves, people notice.
The more people notice, the more they start to pay attention. And as they pay attention, they begin to stretch how they think about things. As they stretch how they think, they begin to engage with the world around them differently.
Being a super-spreader is not about trying to convince anyone of anything. It’s not about forcing an outcome. It’s not about manipulating a situation. It’s simply about living what matters through your heart, hands, and feet.
Transformational Presence means creating and supporting cultures and environments where both the human and the natural worlds can thrive. It means lifting people up to be their best in every way. It means embodying presence and action in partnership. It means fostering leaders, communities, and nations that are honest, truthful, and virtuous. In essence, it means praying with your legs.
What does praying with your legs look like in your life? What does it mean to live a life that is honest, truthful, and virtuous? What kind of super-spreader could you be?
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