Stand Up

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It is New Years Eve. 

Inevitably, we are all thinking about a new year, a new start and a new “us”. You will read many posts in the next few weeks that talk about goals, resolutions, weight loss, organization and starting fresh.  While all of those are great ideas and worthy accomplishments, today I want to present a different idea about the new year.

Be a STAND UP.  

The Urban Dictionary lists the definition of a STAND UP to be “a person of the respectable moral type.  Has a good character and can be relied on to do the right thing.”

This type of person is what we need in our families, cities, and nation.  We need more STAND UP guys and gals, people who can be counted on, who keep their word, who do the right thing when no one is even looking.  We need people who do not get involved to become famous or to post their involvement on Facebook, but instead get involved to change someone’s situation.

This idea came to me recently when talking with my husband about a candidate for a job.  He referred to the guy as “a real STAND UP guy.”  I questioned him about the definition and we talked a lot about the guy’s character.  This gentleman was known to be reliable, trustworthy, and a finisher.  Someone who didn’t cause drama, but solved the drama around him in a peaceful way.  

And it got me thinking.

Instead of making resolutions about short-term solutions, perhaps we as a generation need to be thinking about what our character really shouts.  Are we known as someone who is a giver or a taker?  Are we known as someone that finishes what we start?  Are we known as a person who opts out when the going gets tough? Are we known as someone who keeps our word? Are we known as someone that people can trust with secrets? Are we known as a loyal friend or family member?  Are we known to fight for our husband or wife when needed?  Do we stand up for our kids when they can’t fight for themselves? Do we stand up for the weak?

To me, our culture is becoming far too narcissistic. Everything you will read in January will start with a personal pronoun. Your, me, mine, I, you.  But is it always good to focus on ourselves?  Becoming a STAND UP person is more about others and less about you.

Here are 7 ways to make 2016 a STAND UP year:

1. Keep your word.  It might be a great idea to put the calendar app on your phone to good use.  Try not to commit to an engagement until you have thought through whether or not you will keep your word.  Hold off on saying yes until you can make a wise choice and then follow through with your yes at all costs.

2. Finish what you start.  If your wife asks you to clean the garage on Saturday and you commit to it, finish it.  Think through the task with the idea that I need to accomplish this today.  Start the project with the end in mind…and the end result is to finish.

3. Defend your husband (or wife).  If you are married, you are one flesh.  If someone criticizes your mate, they are criticizing you.  Do not stand there and allow someone to speak negatively about your spouse.  Encourage a direct conversation between them.  This means when your mom trashes your husband, stop her.  When your friends trash your wife, stop them. Negative talk will breed negative thoughts.

4. Stop Instagram-ing your good deeds.  Check your motives.  If you are taking pictures with a child from Africa only because you want your friends to see you, STOP it. If you are doing a good deed for someone and need to post it on Facebook, STOP it.  If your motives are about the self-promotion of you, possibly rethink what you are doing.  It discredits your character to promote what should be done in quiet.

5. Focus on the solution, rather than the problem. Be the type of employee that thinks long and hard about how to solve issues, rather than just blowing the whistle. Being solution-oriented creates positive movement in your company and your reputation.

6. Take responsibility for your actions. The Miss Universe Pageant fiasco is a great example of someone taking responsibility. Steve Harvey made a mistake, corrected the mistake, and took ownership. He never once blamed the card, the lighting, the music, his nerves, or any other factor. Instead, he issued statements after the event and apologized face-to-face to the contestants. Mistakes will happen, but it’s how we handle those situations that speak to our character.

7. Think, Act, Feel.  We let our emotions dictate our actions.  “I don’t feel like going to work today,”  “I don’t feel in love anymore,” “I don’t feel like eating right today.”  When feelings dictate your actions, you become a responder to your emotions.  This can lead us all down a slippery slope when we are constantly apologizing rather than proactively addressing.  If you start to remind yourself to think first, act second, and feel last, your choices will reflect a more rational and thought-out approach.

My hope is that in this New Year of 2016, your character can be shaped in a positive way to have movement towards being known as someone who can be relied on, who is loyal, who defends the weak, and is known to be respectable in light of adversity.  Try being a “STAND UP” and while it won’t be easy, it could change the trajectory of your family a lot more than cleaning out your closets.

Here’s to a Happy New Year and “New” You!

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