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Would You Pick Up Someone Else’s Rubbish?

By January 16, 2018February 14th, 2019Articles, Leadership

markus-clemens-312647A guy was walking along the street on a hot day a couple of weeks ago drinking a bottle of water. Thinking he was highly skilled in basketball, the aimed the bottle at the bin, threw and missed. No score. The bottle fell to the ground and he kept walking.

Noticing this was a father and his child. The father walked towards the bottle on the ground and picked it up. His son asked him why he was doing that, as he didn’t drop it. And his father responded ‘because it matters. It matters to the world you will live in in the future and it matters to people living around here now. You don’t litter streets, its impact is felt way beyond seeing a bottle on the ground.” He placed the bottle in the bin.

This mattered to him enough to stop and pick up someone else’s rubbish and educate his son as to why he was doing it. It had much greater meaning to him than just keeping the streets clean.

Why does what you do matter?

No doubt you have spent time getting clear on your goals and how you want to experience 2018. We can often come up with goals that sound good, that are logical and things we feel we should be doing but are you connected with why it matters? Simon Sinek writes in his book ‘Start with Why’ great leaders know the reasons that they do whatever they do. This is how they motivate and inspire those around them.

More importantly, this is how leaders motivate and inspire themselves, which is critical. Leadership isn’t easy and when you are trying to influence others in a challenging world you need all the tools possible to help you along the way. It’s incredibly powerful to be connected to why it matters, especially when:

  • Times get tough
  • You’re leading change
  • Making unpopular decisions
  • Facing rejection
  • You’re tired
  • Things aren’t going to plan
  • People just don’t seem to be getting it
  • Cash flow is an issue
  • Fear starts kicking in
  • You’re dealing with people or culture issues.

All of these, and many other challenges we face each day, can take the wind out of your sails and drain motivation levels. To be able to clearly articulate and connect with why what you do matters is not only a powerful technique it will help lead you to where you want to go and enable you to lead by example.

What I didn’t mention at the start was the man was walking on the other side of the road when he noticed the bottle being dropped on the ground. So if I ask you this question, metaphorically, does it matter enough that you would you cross the road and pick up someone else’s rubbish? If it doesn’t, what will?