Humility: accepting ourselves and others just as we are—with limitations, vulnerabilities, and imperfections included—as equally valuable and beloved by God without having to prove our worth by what we accomplish, what we own, or what we do right.
Humility is about slipping underneath judgements by which we limit ourselves and one another to love and act fearlessly with power and authority.
Once upon a time, there were three bricklayers.
When asked, “What are you doing?” the first bricklayer replied:
“I’m laying bricks.”
The second bricklayer was asked the same question. He answered:
“I’m putting up a wall.”
The third bricklayer, when asked the question “What are you doing?” responded, with pride in his voice: “I’m building a cathedral.”
If you search for this story online you’ll find different interpretations of the stories meaning, most including some sort of explanation about how the tale speaks to a person’s attitude and ability to see the big picture.
While these things are true and insightful, this story makes me wonder: Why do some companies have an overwhelming amount of cathedral builders? Then on the other hand, why do other businesses seem to only contain hordes of bricklayers?
There’s no question that a person’s individual perspective—attitude, ability to see the big picture, etc.–is crucial. But, the importance of the culture that individual is “IN” is often highly underestimated—even though a cultural explanation explains this conundrum much better.
Let me explain.
If there is a “we” component to our work—if there’s something about the collective group that makes us either better or worse as individuals—then this story isn’t just about a person’s mindset. It’s also very much about the culture surrounding the person.
As leaders we have very little control over how other people think. But if there’s something about the environment a person is in, which creates either more or less meaning in their work, then leaders are on the hook for something different.
A work environment—unlike a person’s mentality — is something a leader has a HUGE amount of control over.
So then the next question is: As a leader, how do I create more cathedral builders in this hospital? By building a better work environment.
Once we start asking that question, we’re headed in the right direction.
What Actions are Most Excellent?
What actions are most excellent?
To gladden the heart of a human being.
To feed the hungry.
To help the afflicted.
To lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful.
To remove the wrongs of the injured.
That person is the most beloved of God who does most good to God’s creatures.
Prayer for Inner Peace
Lord, help me cultivate peace within myself. I am so prone to create chaos, which only leads to panic, and ultimately, confusion, and fear. And, in this confusion and fear, I freeze myself from action.
I find myself stuck, and this only creates more fear, panic and confusion. I know I have peace within because you are within. Lord, help me to embrace you. Help me to embrace my peace within and have the courage to act. Amen.