He sat across from me in my office talking to me about his job. He works the night shift at a local food-processing plant. It’s not a glamorous job by any means, but this man is truly grateful for his position there.
When challenged by another co-worker, he simply responded, “I think it’s a good place,” in his thick African accent. You see, Chibuzo, is a refugee from Congo. He is happy to be in America and glad to have a job.
“[Expletive]!” his co-worker replied. “That’s [expletive].”
“No, it is not [expletive],” Chibuzo replies, matter-of-factly. “I believe it is a good place. It helps pay my bills. It is a good place because I believe it is a good place.”
Chibuzo is sometimes hard to understand because he is so soft-spoken. I love it when he comes in my office. I could listen to him talk all day. His attitude and demeanor shine through his words as we talk of life, God, and leadership. (Not to mention that terrific accent.)
To be honest, I doubt Chibuzo thinks of himself as a leader, yet I encouraged him to continue to be positive and make a difference at his workplace. I imagine there are not many at this plant that think it is a “good place.”
It’s great to have ambition and to better yourself. Chibuzo is taking a class to learn to be a phlebotomist. He is improving himself, yet he is content at his current job. Sometimes, we get frustrated because things don’t happen as fast as we want. We don’t get the promotion that we think we deserve. We don’t get the salary or a raise in the timing that we think it ought to happen. So we get frustrated, angry, and begin to think that our place and our position are not good.
In reality, “good places” are about attitude. Any place can be a good place. It doesn’t mean that you have to land there forever. It simply means that you choose to have a positive attitude where you are. “Bloom where you are planted,” the adage goes.
For Chibuzo, he is blooming and leading in a place that he eventually wants to leave, but is satisfied with it at the moment because it provides money to pay the bills for him and his expectant wife.
How often do we miss opportunities to lead where we are because it is not exactly where we want to be? Leadership is more than just having a certain number of people reporting to you, a high-powered position, or a corner office. It begins and ends with attitude. Like Chibuzo, we must determine that our place is a good place. It provides for us, our families, and also can provide opportunities for our growth, if we have the right outlook.