Let’s Put Away the Judgment and Lead by Example
Helping others feels good. If I’ve learned anything from my years of volunteer work, it’s that giving back gives us the opportunity to lead by example and surprisingly learn a lot about ourselves in the process.
For many years, my dog Grace and I have banded together to tackle the myriad types of trash that pile up on our road. We missed the designated week set by our town this year, but nevertheless, we went out this past weekend with our blue bags to collect roadside waste.
Even though we were late, I still felt strongly that I wanted to clean up our part of the community. Besides, it’s a job that is perfectly suited for Grace—she absolutely loves finding very disgusting smelly things! While it’s not quite as satisfying to my nose, it is very rewarding to me in other ways.
For example, sometimes I find myself passing judgment on those who left behind the very litter that Grace enjoys so much. But in that moment, I get an an opportunity to acknowledge my judgment and try to actively shift my thinking.
Instead of being critical, I try to recognize that people come from all different walks of life and might not have the right support or experiences to know better. Perhaps by setting an example of cleaning up, those who discard their belongings in inappropriate places will find a better home for their trash.
The important thing is to lead by example and make it right. This is an approach I’d encourage all of us, especially managers and leaders, to take in the workplace, as well.
Sometimes you may still have to pick up a little trash left behind, but it will be worth it to enjoy the beauty that results from your efforts.