There he sat surrounded by people who hate him. As his eyes peered through the room, he was unable to locate one friendly, happy or smiling face. How did this happen? How did a desire to want to improve his life enrage so many others? Why did trying hard to excel, make him an outcast? Since when did doing the right thing become a crime?
The environment that he is a part of is hostile. There is not a safe place in site. As he sits at his desk, he feels eyes staring at him, judging him, looking for an opportunity to capitalize on his failures. Every time he speaks eyes begin to roll, people begin to whisper, and people look for amusement in their cell phones or other electronic devices. He is constantly the target of ridicule when things go wrong and the last to get the credit when things go right.
The sad reality is that this is not a new occurrence. For years he has been in a place where one wrong move can lead to his catastrophic downfall. For years he has been in a place where everyone is rooting for him to fail. However, day after day he remains.
It’s not for selfish pride or a love to be ridiculed. It’s not because he is made of steel and the words and actions of others bounce off of his cold hard exterior. It is because of a purpose. There is a reason he is in this place that is larger and more important than the fear and pain he goes through on a daily basis.
It’s hard to imagine constantly being in a place where you are not wanted. This is a place where your car gets keyed, tires get slashed, keyboards disappear, electronic calendars get erased, conference calls get rescheduled and you aren’t notified, and personal client databases somehow disappear. Even in spite of all this, he shows up and thrives while surviving in a hostile work environment.
How is this possible? When the world is against him, how does he find the strength to stand?
I’ll tell you how…
It’s easy to make a stand when you have the consensus behind you. However, having courage means being able to stand for what’s right no matter what the consequences of your actions may be.
You have to know that you are making a difference. Even in the midst of adversity you are never standing alone, if you are doing what is right. You have to believe that your actions are setting the tone for a future generation and sending a message that injustice will not be tolerated.
When you stand, don’t stand without a cause. What sense does it make to fight for something you don’t believe in? When you find yourself in a hostile situation attach your courage and faith to a purpose and you will be given the strength to go on.
If you want to learn more about thriving and surviving in a hostile environment, read about the Little Rock Nine. Their story changed my life.