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Ethical Edge Letters on Integrity  

Click here for Russell Williams' bio


Tuesday, September 07, 2010
'Choose the Right Yardstick'
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
The choice is mine
Toil upward in the night


“The heights by great men reached and kept, were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.”
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

In my life storybook, he is a Most Unforgettable Character. His name was Jimmy Adamson, a proud Scot, family man, pastor, life coach and teacher. Most of all, Jimmy was a friend and mentor on integrity.

My memorable encounter with Jimmy came during a lunch meeting in 1986 – at a pivotal moment in my life. I was ready to chart a new professional direction to take on a new challenge. My mission was in motion. My wife and young family of four kids were at my side. I was ready to leave the safe harbor of the known. I was anxious.

After Jimmy listened to my impending hero’s journey into uncharted waters, he said, “Russ, have you ever heard of prevenient grace?”

“Can’t say I have, Jimmy,” I responded, not knowing where he was leading me.

“Well, my friend, it’s a good term for you to be thinking about as you go forth into uncharted territory. Prevenient means anticipatory … the Good that goes before you to prepare a way for you.”

It’s been nearly 25 years since My Jimmy Conversation. I am a better man for having experienced it. Its message of anticipatory Good has been a lighthouse of understanding for the constant mapping and maneuvering we all experience in the turbulent waters of This Thing Called Life.

Fast-forward now to 2010. For the past two years, I have been both a witness and participant to countless conversations with many professionals who have shared their personal risk-taking in our nation’s economic uncertainty. For millions of Americans – you may be one of them – it has been a stormy season for toiling upward in the night!

Mission Integrity Action

If belief is the rudder for renewal, recovery and hope, both in the activity of individuals and the affairs of our nation, I value holding fast to the belief in prevenient grace. The pursuit of the good is the spark within that says, I choose to walk on the path of the Good that stands before me. I will be the Influencer for the Good; I will be the evidence of the Good; I will see the Good in others; I will persevere in the knowledge that the Good goes before me as I bring positive influence at home, at work and in the communities to which I am connected.

Russell Williams,
founder/president
Passkeys Foundation/Ethical Edge
ethicaledge.org