In a conversation with a colleague this week, I was reminded of this image. This image is one I particularly like because of the humor it uses to make a very strong point. We are often blind to our own position and fail to realize the problems we are watching from the outside, ignoring or blaming on someone else ultimately impact us all.
Working in education and in leadership, you must build, and be a part of a strong team. What impacts one of us, impact all of us. But, we must be willing to admit, that as a team- we are in the same boat. In the image I shared above, the people on the right do not view the problem as their own. When you look at their half of the boat, they are high and dry. They are not getting wet right now; it is that “not my problem” attitude which can eventually sink us all.
We have to find a way start acknowledging problems rather than shifting responsibility to others. We are stronger and better together. We must be willing to aid in finding a solution, working to help improve the outcome rather than turning a blind eye to situations that arise and don’t affect us directly at that time. This helps us deal with, rather than dwell on, any situation. That ownership may be as minute as lending a sympathetic ear followed by a small piece of advice or as big as accepting that you are part of the problem and making a change. Either way, we are part of the solution in the realization that we are on the same boat.
I will admit, I have been on the wrong end of the boat many times. I avoid a conversation, shirk a responsibility, or ignore what is happening in hopes it will fix itself. What I have learned through all of these mistakes in dealing with situations is: 1) problems rarely, if ever, fix themselves, and 2) things are only as good as the worst behavior I am willing to accept. This applies to not only my own personal problems but also larger systemic problems in my work.
Has there ever been someone close to you that has brought an issue to you and you have thought: “I am not getting involved in that one?” Where have you shifted responsibility to others instead of owning your piece of the problem? Or, in what way have you denied that you might be part of the problem and had a “sure glad the hole isn’t on my end of the boat” attitude?
Whatever your answers may be to those questions, I encourage you to realize that no matter how small a role you think you are playing in a given situation… we are all on the same boat. I believe there are very few absolutes in this world, but one thing I am positive about is: doing nothing, helps nothing. If you know about the problem, it’s time to start owning your piece of moving forward to find a solution. We are all in this together. The quicker we realize that, the stronger we can become.
Keep learning; keep growing; keep sharing!