Yesterday, I had an appointment with a new client. As I entered the home, an uneasiness overwhelmed me as my eyes noticed an adorable 4-month old American Bulldog puppy.
What problem does this dog have that is hanging over the owners like a black cloud?
As we sat and talked in the living room, their non-verbal, autistic child entered the room and started bouncing on his trampoline. Both owners took a deep breath and I witnessed their anxiety level ratchet up another notch.
Oh, I see now.
I am not a parent to a special-needs child. I’m not even a parent to a human. I couldn’t empathize with the mom and dad. They clearly didn’t want my sympathy either. They wanted and needed my help.
The only thing I knew how to do in that moment was to stop teaching. I didn’t use dog training skills when I gave them space to handle the “distraction.”
The mother explained to me how a mobile groomer had told her, “You need to do something with that kid so I can work on your dog.”
Aha! They are nervous about how I will react? Will I be rude and disrespectful? That’s why they are so uneasy.
I continued listening and teaching and saw the owners’ posture relax.
CRASH! An ear-piercing scream and cry followed.
“Go. Take care of your son.”
The boy had fallen off a bed in a nearby room. He felt safe “up high” where the puppy that nips and bites couldn’t reach him. The owners settled the immediate crisis and I went back to work.
My clients silently screamed and begged for more than just the services listed on my website as a dog trainer.
Over the next 75 minutes, I performed to my job description.
However, my clients also received benefits which aren’t listed on my business card. Because they are my vocation: Be Kind. Be Thankful. Be Significant. Sometimes, all my clients need is a decent human being who happens to have a knack for dog training.
I believe if we offer a little of our vocation in our jobs, we can make a positive impact on the world around us. And please don’t wrap it up in a resume-like job description, “uses superior communication skills to deliver outstanding customer service.” The world doesn’t need more “fluff.”
We don’t need to participate in protests or marches or seek massive audiences to raise our voice. Our voices can impact the life the person(s) standing right in front of us if we stretch beyond the limits of our job description.
Consider the differences between your job and vocation.
When you do your job well, you may benefit. When you perform your vocation, someone else will benefit. I promise you that! And your intentional act of kindness will help create the changes we all want to see in the world.
So please, when someone asks you to do a job, consider they may really be asking for your vocation. I hope you will give generously even though it’s not in your job description.
Be Kind. Be Thankful. Be Significant.