No matter what this job is, you must decide to do it well.

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“No matter what this job is, you must decide to do it well. Do it so well that the living, the dead, or the unborn (Yes) can’t do it better. (Yeah) If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Raphael painted pictures; sweep streets like Michelangelo carved marble; sweep streets like Beethoven composed music; sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry; sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: “Here lived a great street sweeper (All right), who swept his job well.” (Oh yes)If you can’t be a pine on the top of the hill, Be a shrub in the valley (Well)—but be The best shrub on the side of the hill.” –Dr. Martin Luther King

Although this excerpt was not a part of the “I have a dream” speech fifty years ago, it does ring true for leadership and remembering the insight of Dr. King.

I was told of a waste water worker in my city this past week, who has done his job for over 25 years. The director over this division spent a day with this man and had to tell me of his experience. He said this inspirational man stopped to thank God, several times throughout the day, for allowing him the opportunity to serve his family through his work. He thanked God while he was holding a suction hose picking up clogs of solid waste. The story goes on to say this man has done this for most, if not his entire career. He is also known as the best waste water worker in our city, possibly anywhere.  His enthusiasm is contagious, his knowledge and expertise is admirable, and his heart is inspiring.

Sometimes we lose focus on our purpose in life. We separate our personal life from our work life, like the two have no connection. How can we be the best at our career craft, without being the best at home? I guess the question could be refined to; what is the underpinning for your pursuit to be the best? Is it self-satisfaction? Is it in the service of others? and if so, then who are you trying to serve?

I’m as guilty as anyone at competing at work and switching gears at home to just “be”. This is the struggle I’m working on, being the best I can be in “life” rather than at a career. I am trying to focus my service on a higher calling that will collaterally serve all of my life and those who share it with me, be it home, work or those I will never meet, like the waste water worker, whom I’ve not met, (yet).

This post is a stray from my normal ranting. But it’s a step… for me.

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