Welcome to 2018. Have you made your resolutions? Have you broken them already?

I have set a goal for 2018 that I can renew each day, even if I blew it the day before – that is to be intentional with regard to what I say, what I write and what I believe to be right. I expect I will need to refocus and reset this intention often in the coming months.

I am pretty sure I’m not the only one happy to see 2017 in the rear-view mirror. I think many of us were just a little thunderstruck at the intensity and venom that flew up and around the politics of the nation. I saw friends “go at each other” because of politics. People I’d known for years called me horrible names and removed me from their social media because I disagreed with them. I was cautioned by “well-meaning” associates that, as a quasi-public figure, I would be unwise to disenfranchise half of my potential audience. I allowed that fear to cloud my judgment, and rather than continuing to speak my truth respectfully, I retreated into the passive shadows and hid behind “safe” subjects.

I will not be cowering in 2018.

Have no fear, I have no intention of tackling politics in my writings and blog posts moving forward, neither will I shy away from speaking and acting upon the core message of what I believe in and speak upon. The Colonel always said “You don’t have to respect everyone, Kiddo. You don’t have a right to DISRESPECT anyone, young lady.” America has forgotten how to treat each other with respect.

Everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and communicated with in a respectful manner, even if they are not doing the same themselves. In his book, How to Deal with Difficult People, Paul Friedman said, “I choose to treat this person with respect, whether or not I like what they think, say or do.” I don’t know if Friedman intended that to be profound, but it was profound to me and I took on as a standard for my life. That is the entire essence of approaching every encounter from Higher Ground.

I had an audience member once who asked the question, “Why does it always need to be me? Why is it ALWAYS us who have to be ‘the bigger person?’ I am frickin’ tired of being the bigger person!”

I had to think about that for a minute and then I answered, “Because we can. Somebody has to be. It might as well be us. Because we don’t gather our self-worth by lowering the perceived worth of others. Because we make a decision every day when we get out of bed to put our superpower-pants on and do the best we can. Walking Higher Ground is not always fun, and it’s not always easy – but it’s ALWAYS the right thing to do.”

Therefore, my objective in 2018 is to be intentional about treating everyone I encounter with dignity and respect. To actively push for truthful, factual, honest, and most importantly, RESPECTFUL communication in every aspect of the world I touch. Whether it is from the stage, in corporate training sessions, on social media, in associations I belong to, with my family, or with strangers at the grocery store. Not only will I strive for this every day, I will also speak up and out when I see someone being disrespected, harassed or bullied. Complacency lives in the shadows.

Maybe, just maybe – one person being intentional can brush off on others and have an exponential effect. Won’t you consider joining me in a resolution we can reset every day?