There is a great deal of material written about and attention given to leaders. One of the burdens of leadership is often summarized in the quote it is “lonely at the top.” There are many times when a leader needs to step forward and decide. The leader has gathered all the input, sorted through the data, and then at some point a decision needs to be made. There is that moment of decision when the burden is only fully felt by the leader. This is when a leader confronts that cold reality that it is truly “lonely at the top.”
However, today’s message is not about the “leader”, but about the often underappreciated role that most of us play…The role of serving to get the job done. Mostly out of the spotlight, behind the scenes, and without the typical fanfare that comes with the “lonely role at the top.” Similar to an offensive lineman blocking for a great running back or providing protection for a great quarterback to find the open receiver, the offensive line, like many of us, do our job faithfully day in and day out without being in the spotlight.
Although many times underappreciated, there is something extremely honorable about the commitment of those who get the job done in our workplace, our communities and our homes. A tremendous example is quietly set by those getting up on a cold, dark morning and getting the job done on a consistent basis that is worthy of appreciation, but so often goes without it. It does not matter what role you play; whether you get up and load boxes into a truck, pack a lunch for children, sit and hold grandchildren, or plan the strategy for an organization. The day in day out choice you make to get up and get going despite going underappreciated for not just days, but perhaps years, is worthy of praise and honor.
Truth be told, our most underappreciated examples of honorable, quiet service most often occur with those closest to us in our homes and extended family.
We may not realize it, but those around us, whether they are our children, our coworkers, or our neighbors are all impacted by our example to get up and get going. The spotlight or the press can be fleeting and inaccurate over time on those individuals in high-level positions. However, the day to day example of those in quiet service to a cause beyond themselves and honorably fulfilling their commitments are to be given the highest praise for their impact is positive and lasting on those around them.
All of us, at certain points in our journey across the various roles we play, will feel underappreciated for our efforts. Whether it is an insensitive spouse, a young adult going through that “know it all” phase, a preoccupied boss, or selfish coworkers, we all will go through times of service where we just feel underappreciated.
In most cases, especially in the home, the tide does eventually turn. The insensitive spouse or the “know it all” young adult eventually has that “light-bulb” moment when they realize the quiet service that has been delivered faithfully over the years. However, if they do not, it is important that we do not lose our drive to deliver on our commitments to do our job and fulfill our obligations. Continuing to move forward in quiet service is the right thing to do.
If you have felt underappreciated for a while, take this writing as a little “pat on the back” of encouragement for a job and an example well done. In addition, we all should do some self-reflection and see if we are that insensitive spouse, “know it all” young adult, preoccupied boss, or selfish co-worker and start today to put forth some encouragement and recognition to those who are in honorable, quiet service around us.
There are two key points from today’s message:
(1) Keep moving forward in quiet service no matter how seemingly underappreciated or unrecognized our efforts become. Our day in and day out example to maintain our commitments will have a positive impact on those around us, even if we do not see it today.
(2) We should avoid allowing the negative energy of bitterness to set in when our service goes unnoticed or the praise and recognition for the task goes to someone else. Continue to transfer energy into serving and minimize the negative energy that can creep in when recognition or appreciation is non-existent. If not, it will have a negative impact on our ability to deliver on our commitments.
There is a famous poem that has been attributed to a number of individuals. The most famous accounting is that it is written on the wall in one of the Missionaries of Charity orphanages in India that was founded by the late Mother Teresa. The poem is entitled, Anyway.
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
In essence, the learning is to continue to build and strengthen our character by doing what is right, regardless if we are appreciated or not and regardless if someone says thanks or not. Our efforts will build and strengthen our character and Character Creates Opportunity® for us to have a positive impact in our world and on those closest to us.