One of my closest friends is Brian, and he stands out to me for many reasons. He is a strong man of faith, a true prayer warrior, a loving and devoted father and husband, a gift to the community we live in, and really to anyone who has the privilege of meeting Brian. Many people speak of their philosophy of hoping to leave every person they meet better off than when they had met them, and if you spend time with Brian, even if it is for five minutes, you will know what I am talking about.
We share insights about life and business, and we definitely enjoy getting together over a beer or three to let our creativity take over and speak about what else we can do to serve others. Brian and I had a chance to play golf last week and he started our conversation in the cart by telling me, “You are that person.” And he said it with such conviction, I was curious to know what he meant.
He said it again, but this time he wasn’t just referring to me, he was referring to all of us. Whether at work, at home, in the community, or anywhere else, if something needs to be done, we all have the opportunity to step up and “Be that person.” He was not speaking about specific skills we would need to take care of a complex task, but more of the day-to-day things that so many take for granted or simply walk away assuming someone else would take care of it, and maybe even think it’s not our responsibility.
If there is a piece of trash on the ground, do we walk by it or do we pick it up and throw it away? Or are we hoping someone else will come by and clean it up? If an elderly person who needs help with a shopping cart and maybe getting across the street, do we stop what we are doing to assist them, or walk away and hope that some other nice person might come by to help? If we see someone who needs an ear to listen or the need to be consoled, do we avoid them or sit and listen or offer a hug? We can “Be that person.”
At work, if a co-worker needs a hand, even though it’s not in our job description, do we offer to help in some way to help lighten the load? Or do we avoid making eye contact and leave the area and let them struggle or again, hope someone else might be more willing to help? If we have taken the last cup of coffee, do we refill the pot? If the printer is out of paper, do we load more paper or wait for someone else to do it when they come to pick up the print job and realize there was no paper? We can “Be that person.”
If we know our neighbor just left for vacation and a box is dropped off on their porch, do we secure it and hold it for them, or do we let it sit there and watch as other boxes may show up? If they left their garbage cans out and were gone for a day, do we at least move them into their driveway or maybe take them to where they belong, or do we allow them to stay out there all day signaling to anyone that the homeowner may not be at home? We can “Be that person.”
Think about any one of these examples and hundreds more like them where a simple task that we are easily capable of doing but don’t because we don’t have time, we see it as it being below ourselves, or we just simply expect or hope that someone else will do it. I would love to hear your story at email@example.com, and when we can do as Brian says and “Be that person,” it really will be a better than good life.
Michael Norton is an author, a personal and professional coach, consultant, trainer, encourager and motivator of individuals and businesses, working with organizations and associations across multiple industries.