|Reflections: Willingness Doesn’t Have to Mean Compliance
A few years ago I started reading about the concept of willingness. At first, I hated it. It felt weak and compliant. But as I read more about it, I realized I misunderstood the meaning of the word.
Willingness is the quality or state of being prepared to do something. It is a recognition of what you can control and what you can’t, and then having the presence of mind to act in ways that best serve you.
You will undoubtedly find yourself in seemingly intolerable situations, such as receiving absurdly poor service, unfair treatment, or many of life’s challenges. But willingness doesn’t equate to passiveness. Instead, it can mean that you are ready for the situations that arise, can accept their reality, and then choose the most effective path forward. This is so much harder than it sounds. And most of the poor behavior we witness at work and life around us is a result of people being unwilling to do just that.
On a related note, if you’d like to read more about acceptance, take a look at my Harvard Business Review article Good Leaders Know You Can’t Fight Reality.