Words have meaning. In a world of text messaging, social media posts, and emoji’s we misuse words to the point of confusing others about what we mean. It’s not uncommon to hear a common phrase when people accept an award, or when they are introduced as a performer, speaker, or host. This opening line is so common, it is cliche. Sometimes the person means what they say. Often the individual means something very different. How does this common opening line begin?
These words seem grateful, humble, or even magnanimous. The speaker means well, but they convey an attitude that seeks into other areas of our lives. That attitude, while seeming gracious and grateful, forms a foundation of some of the world’s greatest problems. Many quickly attribute this attitude to other generations, (such as millennial’s), other ideologies, competitors & colleagues alike. What is this attitude?
It’s all about me.
If you say you are “honored”, what does that really mean? Honor conveys merited respect, or that one is a person of distinction, with integrity and a certain exalted nobility. All of these attributes man apply to the person in question. However, when we receive a award or host an event or speak from the platform, consider opening your remarks from the perspective of a different paradigm. A life of service represents the ultimate in calling. To be certain, one does not need to be a pious monk, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther Kink, Jr., or Ghandi. A business owner providing quality products or services and jobs for others, a highly compensated doctor who helps heal others, or a blue-collar worker giving an honest day’s labor lives a life of service if service is their life-view.
When I speak to audiences, it is not an honor to speak to them…really! So what do I say? What are the words?
“It is a privilege…”
Regardless of the occasion, be it it for recognition or reception, the person on the platform is privileged to be front-and-center. Working and interacting from the perspective of Privilege versus Honor helps us serve more deeply, and set an example to others about a life of service. Speaking and acting from privilege provides an element of power as well. The humility of knowing one is privileged to participate, play, engage, or receive recognition also leads us to additional opportunities to make an even greater contribution as a result of service.
Over the course of a year, people hire me to help them in a variety of ways. It’s not an honor to speak, to write, to coach or consult.
It is a privilege.