Leadership Begins with Action

Off the Pacific Coast Highway near Newport Beach, CA, there is a local doughnut and ice cream shop like you would find in a Norman Rockwell painting called Dad’s.  Dad’s has been around for many years and is home to Doughnuts and the ever famous Balboa Bar and the Frozen Banana.  My niece, nephew and I were enjoying a cold treat of  Frozen Bananas when I spotted a plastic spoon on the ground.  As one walker almost tripped over it I started to wonder if anyone would pick up the spoon. Many people begin to kick and trip over this small spoon and after about ten minutes, as we finished our treats, I walked over, picked up the spoon and threw it away.  Even for the smallest jobs, to get something done, you have to be willing to leap into action.I was fascinated by this ignored spoon as many times in my life I see something needs to be done  it just doesn’t happen.  Now I’m not saying I’m a hero for picking up the spoon, though if Governor Schwarzenegger wants to give me a call and invite me up for dinner, I’m free.  However, I do feel that if I had not gone to pick up the spoon it would have stayed there for a while.  Who knows, if someone with a balance problem had stepped on the spoon something worse could have happened.  Either way, it needed to be done, I felt that I could take care of it rather than wait for someone else.

One of my biggest concerns with my classes comes with the line “it’s not my job why do I have to do it?”  It’s not about doing the right thing or helping people out, but personal responsibility seems to be diminishing.  I will ask a student, “Hey, can you pick up that wrapper under your desk please?” To which I will hear, “It’s not my wrapper, will you give me extra credit if I pick it up?”  So, I continue to instill a sense of pride and integrity in my students to do the right thing (also a great movie by Spike Lee if you have the time).

I tell my students that leadership is action.  Rather than wait for someone to do something for you or for someone else, you can do it yourself.  Many things we do are not our job or our immediate responsibility – but they need to be done.  Besides, life is more fun when you step up and make things happen rather than wait for someone else to do it for you.

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~ by cadaleaders on July 24, 2010.

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