Was I seriously going to do this?! Wipe off someone else’s mess from a toilet seat in a public restroom?!
In my mid-20s, I spent 18 months as a participant and then coach of an intense leadership development program. We were a couple months into the program when given one of the most powerful homework assignments (and certainly the grossest!) I’ve ever had:
“Leave every bathroom you use cleaner than it was when you entered.”
We were to practice this assignment for the next two months!
I could see some value in the assignment right away, but I had no idea how powerful it would be to actually practice it.
The bathrooms in our row house in Baltimore. The bathrooms at family and friends’ houses. The bathrooms in restaurants and malls and other public places. The portable bathrooms at outdoor events…
I did the assignment for those two months, and when the time came to celebrate the end of the two months, I somewhat surprisingly found myself continuing to do it.
17 years later, and I’m still leaving every bathroom I enter just a bit cleaner.
There was a handful of years in there that I forgot about the assignment. I did what normal people do: I used the bathroom and left.
Then something happened a few years ago: I reawakened to who I am as a Leader in the Transformation of Humanity.
I stand for a world that works for ALL Life. A world where ALL people access and empower their innate capacity to thrive no matter the circumstances. A world where the human spirit can soar for ALL people.
You see, I stopped leaving the bathrooms cleaner when I forgot who I am and what my life is for. I used the bathroom without much thought for anyone else or how the cleanliness of the space would subconsciously impact others.
That’s why I’ve gone back to the assignment, and it’s one of my most powerful daily practices.
Anyone can talk the talk, but leaders walk the walk. Leaders model. Leaders act with integrity. Leaders embody those traits that they stand for.
True leadership is not about followers, domination, manipulation, or control. Leadership is about making a difference.
Leadership is a state of being, it’s not a title.
The thing is, we’re ALL leaders whether we see it or not and whether we admit it or not. We are parents, siblings, friends, colleagues, teachers, coaches, and teammates, and all these roles are begging us to be leaders - they're begging us to make a difference.
If I am truly committed to a world that works for all life, where the human spirit can soar for all people, then tidying up is the most important job I have as I wrap up using that bathroom.
In what simple (and perhaps off-the-wall) ways can you honor your particular vision of a world that works?
Thanks so much for reading. 🙏❤️
P.S. As a transformational coach, I help people and organizations move beyond their self-imposed limitations to be their best and feel amazing. If you’re interested in finding out how I can support you or your organization, reach out and let’s talk. 💌