Do your part

When someone says “have a nice day” or my wife tells me “safe travels”, over the years my answer has become “I’ll do my part” which can often get me weird looks (no longer from my wife, she chose to marry me). None of us have complete control over our circumstances so how can we possibly agree to have a nice or great day? I am not flying the plane nor driving the other cars on the highway, so all I can do is what I can do – my part.

In coaching high school football it is important that all 11 players do their job and not someone else’s. On kick-off coverage I would have players leaving their ‘lane’ in an effort to make the big hit or play, only to create a gap the opponent took advantage of. Do your job and trust your teammates will do theirs.

In business teamwork is essential and success occurs when individuals focus on doing their job in context with the overall needs of the company. How many times does someone solely care about their job and its results without regard to the impact it may have on others. Managing to make one’s numbers on a spreadsheet look fantastic is like leaving your lane to make the big hit – it can turn out great but it can also create undesirable circumstances. I have also heard more than a few times someone critiquing how they would do someone else’s job better as opposed to focusing on their job.

I am a big fan of the Die Hard movies (not so much of Die Hard 5). Bruce Willis’ character – John McClane – talks about being ‘that guy’ as he finds himself in the midst of these incredible situations. It falls upon him to be that guy and do his part – he states he rather not be that guy, but given the situation he rises to do his part – yippee-kai-yay!

Part of “Doing Your Part” is “Being Where Your Feet Are”. You can’t do your part of driving safe if you are texting; a football player can’t focus on making the tackle if he is being blocked by a double-team; an inventory analyst looking at stocking recommendations doesn’t make a good salesperson talking to a customer. The reason behind John McClane needing to be ‘that guy’ is he is in the right/wrong place at the right/wrong time – it is where his feet are – as a man of honor he’ll do his part. In the words of Teddy Roosevelt, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

Joe Moglia, the successful businessman (CEO of Ameritrade) turned Head Football Coach (Coastal Carolina) as well as my first College Football Coach, does not have team rules. Instead he has a philosophy ‘Be A Man’ – about standing on your own two feet and learning to take responsibility for yourself; about being a great leader who has a respect for others and cares about other people in his or her charge; about always giving it 100% of everything you have – in other words, “doing your part”.

Scripture has many references to doing your part. I find Isaiah 6:8 a powerful reminder; we read where Isaiah say, “Here I am. Send me”, when the Lord asks, “Whom should I send?” Isaiah wants to do his part.  I really connect with Nehemiah. He was not a King or a Prophet, just a regular guy who did his part. Despite ridicule and others trying to focus his attention elsewhere, Nehemiah stayed where his feet were, did his part and rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem in 56 days. In fact, the Bible is filled with people doing their part, from Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt to the Acts of the Apostles.

Sometimes we lose sight thinking we need to be ‘keeping up with Joneses’ or these days with the Kardashians. How can we do our part when we set a benchmark on someone else’s part? In Galatians 6:5, “For every man shall bear his own burden” is a reminder we will be judged on having done our part, not someone else’s.

We keep looking ahead, wanting more, seeing the next big thing. We tend to lose sight of what our role is along our journey, or should I say roles because as we go through time we take on various distinct roles and some of those morph while we are in them. Too many men who have had children are not doing their part as a father, some aren’t even doing their part as a husband. Think about the wedding vows, you answer “I do” after being asked to accept your part in the marriage. You take an oath to ‘do your part’.

If you have taken on the role, whatever that role may be, then you own doing your part. Where ever your feet are, be your best in that role. Per John McClane “be that guy”, or in Coach Moglia’s vernacular ‘Be A Man’ or as Isaiah said, “Send Me”.

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