“Don’t make waves.”
You have heard that advice. You have heeded it. perhaps you have given it. Perhaps it is the top of your list of survival techniques. There is only one problem with it.
It is bad advice.
With currents come waves … or perhaps currents are made of waves. Either way, they are necessary for change and change is necessary for growth.
No. Not all change is good, but no change is almost always bad.
We need waves to move us around, shift the sand under our feet, and to make life interesting.
Waves are indicators of influence and influence is at the heart of leadership.
The world is changing with or without our consent. Our resistance is futile and naïve. We can only go against the flow of negativity by creating currents of positivity. We can only resist evil influences by making waves of our own. Holding our ground is impossible in a liquid environment. We just can’t be lazy and expect to have a positive influence in the world.
Jesus described life in the Spirit as like having living water flow from us — fresh, moving, and refreshing.
Living water never accumulates in stagnant pools.
You must change if you are going to be an agent of change.
The first six verses of Proverbs 1 are populated with gerunds: attaining, understanding acquiring, doing, giving, learning, and discerning.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge …” — Proverbs 1:7
That which begins, continues. It flows. It makes waves. Knowledge is dynamic. It shakes things up, loosens faulty foundations, and stirs the pot of human experience. It also provides an exciting ride for those who are willing to go wherever it leads.
Here is your acronym for making waves that create new currents of thinking and bring positive change to the world through your business or ministry:
W = We.
Make “we waves” because “me waves” are only about my interests, desires, and opinions. A “we-focus” acknowledges that everything a person thinks, does, and contributes affects other people. It embraces a team approach to life and business. It considers the needs and dreams of others and appeals to them in order to build a strong wave of agreement and energy. Selfish motives only create ripples; waves swell when we are “in it” together. Build a team and speak to the masses.
A = Affect.
There are numerous definitions of this word, but I choose the one that means having an emotional impact. Humans are logical beings, but not entirely. We are not a race of Vulcans. We are emotional. We lead with our hearts and follow our hearts. If you are going to make positive waves in the ocean of humanity, you must speak from your heart to the hearts of people.
V = Values.
People value what they value. We have social values that we share and personal values that tend to vary, but we all value something. Many of our core values are commendable. It is in the area of our attitudes where we falter. It is when we forget, neglect, or disconnect from our core values that our behaviors become unpredictable, destructive, and unproductive. The person or movement that makes big waves will appeal to the core values of the masses and of individuals. You will create positive change through a positive influence when you make the connection between what people believe and cherish and what you are saying.
E = Exercise.
We say it many ways, but it requires an exercise of will and energy to create waves of change and influence the thinking and behaviors of people. You must actually do something. Get out of bed, out of your chair, out of your house, and out of your comfort zone(s) and exercise your influence. Talk to people, write, speak in public, do visible deeds, invest your resources, and act in faith. Do something! Take risks. Go out on a limb. Struggle. Exercise. Your level of activity will reflect your commitment and determine your success — but make sure you are acting strategically, intelligently, and with focus.
S — Stick-to-it-iveness.
It is not a real word but it is a very real concept denoting perseverance, determination, and commitment. Making waves that produce positive change in the climate of business, ministry, and the culture may not be an overnight phenomenon. It most likely will not be. In fact, the price of change and influence is often frustration, weariness, resistance, opposition, criticism, and long hours of hard unrewarding work. It is the cumulative efforts of you, your team, and the unseen work of the Spirit who motivates and empowers you that produces results over time. Your job is to stick with it and not give up.
Making waves makes people uncomfortable and makes you the object of potential ridicule, but it is the price of change and it is a major factor in the road to success in leadership and progress. Waves move things around and refresh the environment. Sometimes we catch a wave and sometimes we make a wave.
If someone says to you, “Don’t make waves,” smile and keep on making them.