Friday, December 9, 2011

Common Sense Ain't Common But Neither is Consistency

Everyday Heroes are the people who do what needs to be done everyday

From the age of 12, up until the day I left home for college, I did cleaning work. I cleaned private homes early in the morning before going to school, and then after school I cleaned banks. Anyone who has ever done cleaning work will tell you that house work is Hell. People have little things that are precious to them but they become dust catchers for the person cleaning them. The more delicate, the more dust. Making matters worse is the fact that most people tend to somehow ignore their own dirt; literally and figuratively. We tend to see the faults of others a lot better than we do our own. Sometimes when I’d go to clean a home, people would leave dollar bills or jewelry in odd places in an attempt to tempt me into stealing. I’d pick up the item, clean and then I'd leave the money or item right where it was. Then I'd see the woman of the house checking to see if her bait was still in its place. I was always amazed by the fact that the item was always in a place that was really dirty and I would think, "If they can lay a trap, why can't they clean it first?"
I had already heard about this trick from the other cleaners at my bus stop. These wonderful women would give me tips on how to do the job I had. I was young, but they had been even younger when they first started. Every day, these women at the bus stop would go to do a job that most people would not want to do. They are still in my list of heroes.

In the evening, when I cleaned the banks, I worked with a woman I knew from church. She was an older woman, so I did all of the heavy lifting and anything that required bending. It was one of those bending jobs that gave me a lesson I still live by today.

It was my job to clean the brass poles that hold the velvet rope that marks the lines for people to stand in while waiting for a teller. Nowadays, the rope is made of vinyl and the pole is plastic. But back when I was cleaning, the brass poles were always sticky from the little hands of children who’d just received a lollypop or the sweaty touch of those who had previously held God only knows what. In lay terms, it was nasty. I’m a little on the OCD side, so cleaning is a blessing and a curse. But, I digress. When I first started cleaning those brass poles, I hated it. I would polish and shine and polish and shine until finally I could see my own reflection. For a split second, I felt unspeakable joy. I could see my face in the pole and I had taken something that was a mess and turned it into a work of art. But the spark of that joy was quickly doused by the realization that on the next night I would have to do the same thing all over again. I experienced this up and down of my emotions for some time and then one day, the wisdom of the pole hit me; this is what life is like, you can create beauty, but you will have to be consistent to maintain it. By then, I already knew that I didn’t want to do cleaning work, I had secretly prayed to go to college, but I hadn’t told a soul. I began to polish that brass with the prayer of college. I decided that if I got there, I would be as consistent with my work as I was with that pole; and I determined to live my life the same way, making beauty and then striving to maintain it.

If you want to replace unhealthy habits with healthy ones, don’t expect it to happen over-night. There is no magic pill, plan or program that will take you from point A to point fabulous. Consistency is not just key it is THE key for changing your behavior and your outcome.

We all like excitement, spontaneity and a thrill, but real strides come from a grounded, consistent, common sense approach. The difference between top sellers and those who don’t make their numbers is not a Secret, a prayer cloth or a motivational tape; it is doing the same disciplined work day after day after day. The difference between a top athlete and a weekend warrior is the athlete’s daily devotion to her sport.

The thing that enables a person to reach a goal and maintain it is not a big jump, it’s a steady stride.

·         What one small step can you take to reach a major goal?

·         How have you been out of step with your own desires?

·         Name one common sense thing you learned as a child and make a mental note of how it impacted your life. Share that story with someone.

BE more you more often, one step at a time.

Bertice Berry, PhD

When you walk with Purpose you collide with Destiny

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