A lesson in team building rises from the death of an icon?

I do not live under a rock and have been very aware of the recent tragedy of Whitney Houston's untimely death. I am one of the strange people in America, finding that I have not really been that bothered by it. Sure it's sad, sure I get it. I enjoyed much of her music over my lifetime, probably more songs than I even realized. Yes, I agree she was gorgeous, and even blessed. But I have a bit of attitude about people who make obvious choices to jeopardize their health or lifespan, and this event is no exception. For the past few days all I can think to myself amid all the hubbub is "well, that's what happens when you make those choices".

Now I realize how heartless that makes me sound, and I assure you I am anything BUT.  However, having lived through all the things I have in my lifetime and having never succumbed personally to many of the things that some folks do with lesser stressors, it is difficult for me to sympathize when people have the ability to choose.

That being said, I can be positively influenced when a case is presented in the right light.

One of the privileges I enjoy as part of my career is being able to "tune in daily" to a private motivational call with six millionaire sales women in a popular women's Direct Sales company. I enjoy these "moments" at the start of my day to get my head in the game and prepare myself to help encourage other entrepreneurs to create their own successes.  On yesterday's call the million-dollar messenger shared a blog post about the pop icon that actually shifted my thinking, and made me remember that people have a lot of help hitting bottom. Sometimes the help is pro-active, purposefully leading others into bad choices and dark places. Sometimes the help is passive, a simple lack of doing anything. A failure to step up and do whatever must be done to lure the teetering target back into the light. An absolute disregard for our human responsibility to never give up on our family and friends, our people, when they are putting themselves into the pathway of oncoming tragedy.

Stephanie Melish ( blogged her thoughts in her post "Dance With Somebody".  In her post she begs the questions, "Who are you dancing with? Who is pushing you? Who doesn’t give up on you even when you have given up on yourself? Do you have that somebody?". She goes on to offer three powerful suggestions for making oneself a worthy "dance partner" for the people we care about, both personally and in our business. Her ideas caused me to rethink Whitney Houston's death, and what my own role would have been had I been one of the key influencers in her life. And I found that I would have failed. Miserably.

I chose to let this be a powerful lesson, and have printed out the article and placed it in plain view of my work area to remind myself daily to strive to be a worthwhile dance partner for others. I have it there to challenge me that while it is so easy to stay plugged in to highly motivated people who are racing toward the finish line, being a good dance partner also means running back to support the ones who may be struggling to get out of the gate, who may be faced with more and bigger obstacles, who may have even given up on themselves long before their potential has been reached. And I hope that this will influence me daily to just try a little harder to give more, pay closer attention, and be willing to reach out when others won't.

We may never know the full landscape behind Whitney Houston's demise, but certainly if just one of us can take away from it all an ability to continue praising, pushing and protecting our own when it is needed, perhaps similar future tragedies, whether literal or symbolic, can be avoided.

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