Throughout history, our time and attention are drawn towards those who are out in front making the headlines, giving the speeches, and closing the big deal. Many times, those exalted as innovators, brilliant, effective leaders, or the ones making things happen, are often seen as being larger than life compared to the rest of us.
Most of us are not in the spotlight, on the stage, being interviewed by the reporter, or standing in the ribbon cutting line.
As we continue on our journey to build and strengthen our character, today’s note is about the important role most of us play, the role of assisting others to reach their full potential.
The history books may leave the “assistants” out of the biographies. However, the reality is that the lives of those who have public impact are most often filled with others assisting them in their efforts.
We all know well the inventions and legacy of Thomas Edison. However, we probably don’t know William Hammer who was Edison’s chief engineer responsible for most of the work at the Edison Lamp Company or Frank Sprague who was the mathematician behind critical steps in the electric lighting system. These assistants helped Edison reach his full potential.
We can probably name the head coach of our favorite football team, but I bet we struggle to name the offensive line coach who is often responsible for building the group of linemen who clear the path for the running back to get on the cover of a sports magazine.
Behind every well performing executive or leader in business, there is always an assistant who makes sure things get done. Behind every customer facing role in an organization, there is usually a team of assistants making sure expectations are met. They most often do not take the stage at the million dollar round table banquet, but without them, top performance is not possible.
Truth be told, our most underappreciated examples of honorable, quiet assistants occur with those closest to us in our homes and extended family. It is these assistants that form the backbone of health and safety in our communities and our nation. The service of one spouse to another, of a parent to a child, siblings to each other, and the service of children reversing roles to assist elderly parents.
If it weren’t for the honorable and principled assistants, we would all be in a difficult position. The history books may leave them out, but they are a critical element to purpose and accomplishment.
An important reality to accept, sooner rather than later, is that a passionate, purposeful life is not about personal achievement, rather it is about helping others reach their full potential.
Our efforts to faithfully play our role, which most likely will not make the headlines, will help to build and strengthen our character and Character Creates Opportunity® for us to assist others in helping them reach their full potential.