I want to share today a story that comes from General Colin Powell.
I once watched a TV documentary about the Empire State Building. For most of the hour, the documentary toured the wonders of the building – its history and structure: how many elevators it had, how many people worked or visited there, how many corporate offices it had, and how it was built. But at the end the story took a sharp turn. The last scene showed a cavernous room in a subbasement filled with hundreds of black trash bags, the building’s daily detritus. Standing in front of the bags were five guys in work clothes. Their job, their mission, their goal was to toss these bags into waiting trash trucks.
The camera focused on one of the men. The narrator asked, “What’s your job?” The answer to anyone watching was painfully obvious. But the guy smiled and said to the camera, “Our job is to make sure that tomorrow morning when people from all over the world come to this wonderful building, it shines, it is clean, and it looks great.” His job was to drag bags, but he knew his purpose. He didn’t feel he was just a trash hauler. His work was vital, and his purpose blended into the purpose of the building’s most senior management eighty floors above.
So, I encourage you today, as you look at your job or responsibilities, to consider – are you hauling trash bags or are you presenting a building? What are you doing?