April 18, 2011

When Character Counts!

There is opportunity in every challenge!


It’s finally Spring in Central Oregon.  Dianna and I attacked the winter waste in our yard to get the water on and the greenery going.  I then headed to the landfill with our yard debris when the lights of a big truck started flashing at me – warning me that something was definitely wrong.  I looked in my right side mirror to discover black smoke coming from the trailer.  I quickly pulled over to the side of the road and jumped out of the car to discover the right tire was not just flat but totally destroyed.  Bummer!  The landfill closes in 30 minutes and I don’t have a jack or spare for my trailer.  I’m in a bad spot.  I am out of town, away from any development where I might find someone to help me.  

Before I have time to consider my options a car pulls up behind me and two guys jump out and offer to get me a spare and jack.  Wow!  This is amazing.  These guys don’t know me and yet they are willing to take time to help me as well as give me their spare.  The guys ask me to move forward because my car and trailer are blocking the dirt road that connects to their trailer park.   As the guys drive their family to their trailer and get the spare I am amazed at their kindness. 

By all appearances they live in a dangerous place.  You would assume the people that live there are challenging and could have questionable character.  Their trailer park sits next to the railroad tracks not connected to any other development.  The trailers are very old and failing, there held together with scraps of wood and wire.  There is not a tree or bush anywhere, only dirt.  These men live in a poor area but they are rich in character. 

The guys quickly came back and helped me get the spare on and on my way.  I thanked the guys and gave them a gift for helping me.  Later that day I drove up the long dusty dirt road to Brian’s pink trailer, gave him his spare and thanked him again for helping me.  He said – “its not really a problem, I like to help”. 

As I shook the hand of my new friend from across the tracks I was vividly reminded of how important character is in life and leadership.  Brian possessed three important character traits that are extremely helpful in conquering the challenges we face.

He was;

1. Aware – It was obvious I had a need – I was parked in front of his driveway but Brian before he even got out of his car was keenly aware that I was not sure what to do and that I probably did not have the resources to address my need. 

2. Generous – Brian graciously offered his time, effort and limited resources to help me.  He could have just asked me to move out of the way and go on his way.  He possessed great character because he saw a need and stepped forward to meet it.

3. Resourceful – Brian didn’t have a spare and jack with him in his car but he knew where he could get one.  This was impressive for a guy who obviously doesn’t have allot of extra resources.

People look to us each day to be like Brian.  To be aware of who they are and what they are facing – to accurately read situations and anticipate what is needed.  The need us to be generous and treat them as we want to be treated – after all things do blow-up in life and it sure is nice when people want to help us rather than judge us.  And they need us to be resourceful in helping them address the challenges as well as opportunities they face. 

Let’s lead like Brian and be leaders who conquer the challenges in life with exceptional character.