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Position vs Stand: A "Mind Shift" for Visionary Leaders

Aug 17, 2007
Today's visionary leaders who are making this shift in thinking, from a "position" to a "stand" are inspiring themselves, their team and even their adversaries to greatness. These visionaries have the power to create a world that works for all of us.

Most of the brightest leaders, entrepreneurs and change agents still fail to grasp this distinction. Many try to stand for a better world while operating from a righteous or egotistical position, and thus are quite powerless to effect lasting change. Real power comes from a stand, not a position.

First grasping this distinction and then making "the shift" elevates and expands one's thinking or consciousness to a visionary level.

So what's the difference between a position and a stand?

Generally, a position is a place to defend or attack from, an external fight against; whereas a stand is a foundation to build on or create from, an internal fight for.

On a psychological level, a position is a defensive reaction to protect oneself from negative judgment (it usually occurs after a compromise of one's values).

A stand, on the other hand, is an action of honoring one's values in the face of inner opposition (fear, doubt, etc.).


Tim is an entrepreneur who has a dispute with Sam, General Manager of another company. Tim thinks he should receive a credit, because Sam's company did not deliver the kind of service they had promised.

Picking up the phone to make a phone call to the GM was a scary proposition for Tim. Sam had already denied his first request for a discount, and reacted as if Tim was being cheap and unfair.

Tim wanted to stand for what he thought was right, and he didn't want the conversation to turn ugly, but he was scared... and so he prepared for the confrontation, as most anyone would do by solidifying his position.

Tim solidified his position by forming his conclusions, judgments and solutions.

Conclusion: Sam's service was not delivered as expected; therefore Tim does not owe the amount in the contract.

Judgment: It was unfair of Sam to not talk this through amicably with Tim. Sam is unethical, unfair and greedy.

Solution: Sam should credit Tim's company $1,000. Anything less is unfair.

Armed with his position, Tim picked up the phone and called Sam. Although Tim was trying to sound nice and businesslike, Sam instantly picked up the defensive/aggressive tone in his voice.

Sam's mind immediately formed its own position. He thought of all he'd done for Tim over the years. How could he be so ungrateful and cheap? You can bend over backward for a guy only so much. No more discounts or credits.

"Well you can call my lawyer then, Sam, because I'm not paying another dime until you credit me $1,000."

"If that's the way you want it, Tim. You'll be hearing from my lawyer." Click. Sam had hung up the phone.

"At least I didn't let that guy overcharge us again," Tim explained to his secretary. A guy's got to take a stand once in a while. Otherwise people will walk all over you.

Thousands of dollars in lawyer bills later, Sam and Tim finally settled out of court for a $500 credit. To this day, their friendship is dead, they are both resentful, and their positions are stronger than ever.

Every time they reflect honestly on how they resolved the conflict, they feel guilt... and then their mind turns back to its position, and they feel a little more comfortable.


We live in a Position world. It's how we think, how we operate, how we resolve conflict. And it works miserably. Our next evolution as human beings is to learn to live from a stand.


A visionary operates in such a way that she inspires herself, her team and even her adversaries to greatness. She calls people to rise above their positions and align on shared values.

She can see through nearly any conflict, and has the confidence of a brazen, unstoppable entrepreneur. Hers is not a foolish arrogance or the brute force of will, but vision. The kind of vision that is uncommon to most of us.

She lives from a stand, and is called forward by the resulting vision to keep standing. She inspires not only herself, but the world around her to greatness.


The more you come from a stand, the more even your adversaries are inspired by you. Rather than react to your position with their own position, they are inspired to stand as well.


What is your position about a certain conflict in your life? Who is right and wrong, and why?

How is your position causing the continued building of your adversary's position?

What might happen if you transformed your position into a stand?
About the Author
As founder of the Vision Force Academy, Michael Skye works with a new breed of impassioned change agents around the world, who are giving their lives to stand for all of humanity. Michael is best known for his transformational leadership trainings, based on his proprietary iStand technology. This article is derived from his free Visionary Mind Shiftscourse at VisionForce.com.
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