The power of declaration
Happy New Year everyone. 2018 arrived with a bang and hope abounds in the New Year. But, I have some questions for you. Did you make a New Years resolution? Do you have written plans or goals for this year. Many people don’t and for those that do, many won’t achieve what they have set out to do. So here is a key ingredient, yet often overlooked ingredient, that propels high achievers forward. It is the Power of Declaration.
Recently I visited Thomas Jefferson’s home in Charlottesville, Virginia. His greatest accomplishment and what he is most remembered for is that he is the principle author of the Declaration of Independence. It was a powerful experience to be in Monticello, his home, and a wonderful reminder of his gift for words. And then it hit me, our country was founded on the Power of a Declaration.
I read through the document and discovered four elements that I believe apply to us today.
The four principles
The first principle is that the United States was founded on the belief that we have “unalienable rights”, conferred upon us by our Creator, that cannot be taken away. In other words, we have the right to expect certain things in our life simply because we exist.
The second principle is that we have the right to demand to be treated fairly. The King of England and the English Parliament enacted a series of laws that upset the colonialists. The grievances were clearly listed on the document and available for all to read.
The third principle is that, as a nation, we exercise the right to do something about it. It is within our power, granted by the authority granted by our “unalienable rights”, to assume control of our governing body. Jefferson included the right to wage war and the right to do commerce.
The fourth principle is, that everyone signed the agreement. Thirteen colonies agreed to unify, to come together, and form one nation, one body. Not only did all of the colonies agree, each of the signers understood that by signing, they risked everything, including their own lives.
Implications for 2018 and our lives today
The first implication is that we have the right to life, liberty and to pursue happiness and that right is granted to everyone. Yet, isn’t it also true that too many people have forgotten that right extends to our individual lives. The evidence is that most people don’t believe that they have the right to expect. Hence people don’t resolve to even write down their goals for the year, much less follow through with an action plan. We have the right to expect. We simply have to make that choice and assert it.
The second implication is that everyone has had something happen to make us doubt our abilities, gifts, talents and our future. The signers of the declaration decided to list them out and make public their list of grievances. I can not think of one person who has not had to overcome negative situations. Job loss, divorce, career change, diagnoses, and debt tend to sour our perceptions. We can stay bitter or we can get better and one of the tonics to getting better is listing out all of those things that have taken away your hopes and dreams. List them out and let it sink in.
The third implication is that we hold the right to go to war, to fight for what it rightfully ours. In terms of commerce, we have the right to determine our own economic course and pursue our financial future. The fight will come at a cost but the war is well worth waging.
The fourth implication is to sign your Declaration. Our founding fathers intended to have the document read and spoken aloud. The document was, in fact, spoken out loud, in the public square and in the marketplace. You can, and should, do the same thing.
The word Declaration is an acronym.
- D represents a Decision
- E means to Explain the grievance
- C denotes to Collaborate
- L equates to Leverage
- A equals to Activate
- R means to Resolve or remedy the situation
- E demands that we Enunciate, both in writing and in speaking of the agreement that we just entered. The agreement can be an agreement with yourself. If you have a spouse or business partner, then ask them to sign as well.
Decide, Explain,Collaborate, Leverage, Activate, Resolve and Enunciate. It all starts with a decision. If you accept the status quo and your circumstance in life, then the result will be exactly what it is. The beauty of the Declaration of Independence is that you get to decide what to fight for, who to work with, how to activate and determine your own course of life.
You have the right, the authority and the ability. What are you going to choose?