When You Know Better, Do Better
As we delve into the Organizational Fundamentals put in place at Momentum Consulting, we start with Integrity. As Tracey Nelson says, it starts with Integrity because everything builds on Trust.
Then, we go into listening. Really listening. Not listening to be right, not listening to justify, but really hearing people. Taking it in. Letting it settle. Listening to understand before needing to be understood. And as Caitlyn Rose eloquently discussed, letting go of that need to be right; that need to say “yeah, but…”
Which leads us to always doing our best.
The first time I read “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz, I went into the chapter about always doing our best thinking “well, that’s obvious…”
But, there is a lot more to this than obvious first impressions. First of all, your best right now is simply your best in this moment in time. This “best” of you now is different from your “best” of years past. Your childhood best is not your adult best, and it wouldn’t even be fair to compare. Nor should we expect to compare a current “best” from person to person.
When I taught high school, I remember exasperated students coming to me about a specific teacher that they claimed “hate” them.
“She’s so mean, Ms. H,” they were saying. “She isn’t listening to us. She won’t let us even speak up.”
I remember looking at these very well meaning students and saying “Hey. I just want to remind you that Ms. ____ is a human. She is leading a human life. And you have no idea what she has gone through before seeing you today.”
I received stares back and looks of obvious contemplation. I felt a shift in their energy. There was a level of recognition there, because teenagers have bad days, too, and teenagers have gone through their own stuff in order to reach this moment, where they judge a teacher as “mean” or “bad.”
Here’s the thing about doing our best, though. Our best today may be different tomorrow and next year and next decade. Our goal is to keep making our best better. Our accountability, as we will discuss in another fundamental, is to continue to grow as people. As we grow, our “best” should hopefully shift.
Knowing better and continuing to stay stuck in an old pattern causes then the disruption of Integrity, which like I mentioned, is First in the order of Fundamentals. Not shifting as we know better causes a breakdown of everything else, including our ability to listen, our ability to let go of being right, and our ability to grow as people.
This moment in history, as I write this, underlines a great shift in the minds and hearts of many people, as many Americans are taking to the streets and demonstrating against the lack of equality in a country that self-proclaims “liberty for all.”
I am speaking of the “Black Lives Matter” Organizational rallies around the United States (June, 2020), following the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. As we are watching this unfold, I want to acknowledge people knowing better and doing better. I’m seeing people stepping forward in realization that they had unwittingly been part of the problem simply by their lack of acknowledgement of the suffering of others, or by their silence in witnessing injustice.
And I want to highlight shifts in the dynamics of some of these rallies (see here). Where some police officers would find it easier to assume the protestors are “against” them, many are choosing to listen, to acknowledge, and even to join arms with the protestors, agreeing that wrongs have occurred and that they can play a part in shifting the dynamic of racial inequalities in this country.
Doing the best you can will require a moving target. The hope is that the target keeps elevating us to do better for ourselves, our neighbors, our nation, and our world.
How are you responding to the call to do your best and to continue moving to a new best?
Fundamental of the Week #5: ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST It’s essential that we always do our very best. If there is ever a question about quality, go back, stay at it until the question is removed.