Three Step Process for Grasping your Role

Josh Babcock, February 20th, 2023 | Team Culture, Process

Martin Luther King Jr. said “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen

Imagine a football team if the kicker, tight-end, quarterback, and wide receiver all said they wanted to be the head coach, not their current position.  Or how about at a restaurant if they had 10 head chefs?  Or what if a church had 50 lead pastors all wanting to teach each Sunday on stage?  I can keep going if you want.

The 3-Step Process

  1. Know your Role
  2. Accept your Role
  3. Give it your All in the Temporary

Step 1: Know your Role

First, you must know what your responsibilities are.  Then know how your responsibilities directly impact to your team’s overall purpose a.k.a your why.  If someone from your team came up to you tomorrow morning and asked you “What is your most important contribution to the team?” 1, would you have a clear answer?

Step 2: Accept your Role

We’ve all heard it, the grass is always greener on the other side.  It’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting a more “important” role, especially after you have been in one for a little bit.  WHILE you are on a team, in a current position you must fully buy into that position you are in.   Every team member has a critical role to play, no matter how big or small.

Step 3: Give it your All in the Temporary

This is where you put your head down and grind.  You know that you are directly impacting your team’s mission; without you, your team would not be complete.  So you work to the best of your abilities however long you are called to this position.  Then on the flip side understanding that the team is bigger than just one person so your role may not be forever.  Embrace new challenges, seek out new opportunities, and be willing to adapt to changes in your role or the team’s objectives. This is so vital because we all have dreams, growth in our skills, and leadership.  So I’m not saying don’t aspire for a new opportunity.  I’m saying give it your absolute all at the place you are at.  So when you leave people will say, “Man that____, he or she did their job well.”

Real Impact

Yes, accepting these principles will absolutely help you in your current position of work.  The real impact is that it will change the type of person you are down to your core.  You will bring this “Street Sweeper” mentality into every area of your life.  Whether at home, volunteering, or helping your neighbors.

Just a Quick Story From My Life

It’s November 2019 and I currently have been unemployed for 7 months.2  I been teaching myself to code for about a month now and through insight from my friend this company is hiring software developers with little experience.  I apply and somehow get an interview.  Now it’s the day before the interview and I’m at a coffee shop with another friend who is a very knowledgeable Software Engineer.  We come to the solution there’s nothing I can fake. I am going into this interview with no technological experience.   So in my head, I’m thinking I must show that I will outwork everyone else and overall be the best team member.  I tell my friend this and he agrees.  Then I proceed to try to impress him, with a quote I memorized that I’m going to drop during the interview.  “If a man is called to be a sweep streeter. Ahh I mean sweep street sweeper, he should street sweep even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or……Wayne Gretzky played hockey.  He should street sweep, ahh I mean sweep sweep streets”.   My friend can’t hold it in any longer, we both start dying laughing at the tongue twister.   Okay, I am not attempting that tomorrow!  Fast forward 4 years later, I got the job and street sweeping is still a part of my everyday life. My wife on most days will leave for work and remind me, “Keep sweeping!”

Whatever your current street is, keep sweeping, and don’t forget to smile now and then along the way.