By Rob Shaul
“What Does It Mean to Be a Quiet Professional” has evolved into my most impactful essay. Over the next few weeks and months, I hope to expand on each of the 13 elements in that original piece. Today I begin with Number 1: Service.
From the Essay …. “Service to your team, your family, your community, your profession. Someone ready to serve. A promise keeper. Reliable. Solid.”
Let’s start with “Solid.” A solid person never says “it’s not my job” – if something needs done, from cleaning the toilet to challenging organizational direction, a “solid” person steps in, speaks up and serves – because it needs to be done.
This is not complicated. It’s just hard.
A solid person is aware.The solid people in your life serve you before you ask, and often before you even know you need help. They seem supernaturally aware of the people, situation, and goal. In organizations, solid people are those quiet ones who do the heavy lifting and keep things moving forward.
The self-absorbed can’t serve. To serve we must be aware of others and the situation. And we can’t be aware unless our own stuff is squared away. Solid people have their stuff squared away. Their own problems and issues have been address and are well in hand. This gives them the mental, emotional and time bandwidth to help others. You can’t help fight someone else’s fire, if your own house is in flames.
“Reliable” and “solid” are brothers. After you find you can rely on someone, they become “solid” in your mind. Often you can trust them to be there, or have something ready or completed, without asking. They just know, and get it done. Solid people are treasures in your life.
The type of service we’re describing here doesn’t seek attention. Some serve for accolades, acknowledgement or glory. These aren’t Quiet Professionals.
There’s no reward attached to a Quiet Professional’s service. No sense of self accomplishment, hope for career advancement or response to religious teachings. It’s who they are.
No….that’s not accurate. Few are born this way. Better is it’s who they’ve grown into.
Most must grow into this type of service – first by thinking it’s not our job, being selfish and self-absorbed, and slowly learning to take care of our own stuff. This process takes time, humor, wisdom, hard work and many, many mistakes to eventually understand, embody and demonstrate true service to our family, community and organization.
Quiet Professionals embrace this journey.