#ELBlog #152: Selfish Or Selfless?
Back in the 1980s my father ran his own pharmacy in our neighborhood. He was the friendly local neighborhood pharmacist who knew every family by name, knew their children, and their ailments. It was almost like a storybook. I learned a lot of leadership lessons watching my parents manage that business over the years. How to talk to people, how to prioritize your time, focus your energy, keep things neat, clean, and up to date, were just a few.
Covid has presented many struggles for a lot of folks. It’s created challenges, and presented situations that no one was prepared for. Does this mean we can’t help others? Does it mean we can’t show empathy and continue to try to help one another? This story reminds me, that no matter the circumstances, that we can.
During the ’80s my father’s partner became sick and was out of work for six weeks. They had split the business 50-50 financially, as well as the work time. When he got sick, my father had to step up and work all of his shifts. It was just the two of them as pharmacists with some faithful loyal assistants. However, they were the pharmacists who took care of the customers. My father ended up working seven days a week for eight weeks. That’s 56 days straight! It was taxing on the family and certainly challenging on my mother with my father being gone all that time.
Eventually, my father’s partner did recover and was able to come back to work. I was grateful to have my Dad back and to spend some time with him. We were able to get back to one of the activities we used to do together, walking around our block together.
I remember talking with my father about how that time was for him, and how tired he was. He shared that he needed to do it to keep the business afloat. I said to him, “at least you earned a lot more money.” He turned and looked at me and said “what do you mean?” I said, “Well you worked all those extra hours so you earned all that extra money.” He shook his head and he said no, that his partner’s salary went into the bank as usual. I looked at him confusedly, and asked why that would be when he worked all of the hours? My father explained about loyalty, commitment, small businesses, and doing the right thing without being asked.
I was amazed by this. While still very young I did not understand about sick time or benefits or anything like that. As we all know, these things don’t exist today with small businesses. The fact that my father did that selfless act still sticks with me today. When someone is down you help them. When you have to cover for someone, you cover, and when someone on your team needs your help, you help them.
There have been so many stories of heroism and generosity throughout this last year. Both the media and Facebook, however, only seem to want to sensationalize and publicize the terrible things that have happened.
I think it’s important to continue to share the goodness that people have done, are doing, or certainly will do. It’s our job as leaders to continue to model and set examples for young people just as my mother and father did almost 35 years ago. Also, celebrating those doing these deeds, even though most times they don’t want it! #KeepRolling
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“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.” – Dale Carnegie