Don’t we all?

BUSINESS MATTERS (BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE) - Francis J. Kong - The Philippine Star

I have kept this article with me for years and reading it gives me a sober reminder that helps me develop the proper perspective in business, as it is in life.

Credited to anonymity, the article is entitled: “Don’t we all?”

I was parked in front of the mall, wiping off my car. I had just come from the car wash and was waiting for my wife to get out of work. Coming my way from across the parking lot was what society would consider a bum. From the looks of him, he had no car, no home, no clean clothes, and no money. There are times when you feel generous, but there are other times that you don’t want to be bothered. This was one of those “don’t want to be bothered times.”

“I hope he doesn’t ask me for any money,” I thought. He didn’t. He came and sat on the curb in front of the bus stop, but he didn’t look like he could have enough money even to ride the bus. After a few minutes, he spoke. “That’s a beautiful car,” he said. He was ragged, but he had an air of dignity around him. His scraggly blond beard keeps more than his face warm.

I said, “thanks,” and continued wiping off my car.

He sat there quietly as I worked. The expected plea for money never came. As the silence between us widened, something inside said, “ask him if he needs any help.” I was sure that he would say “yes,” but I held true to the inner voice.

“Do you need any help?” I asked. He answered in three simple, but profound words that I shall never forget. We often look for wisdom in great men and women. We expect it from those of higher learning and accomplishments. I expected nothing but an outstretched grimy hand. He spoke the three words that shook me.

“Don’t we all?” he said.

I was feeling high and mighty, successful, and important, above a bum in the street, until those three words hit me like a 12-gauge shotgun. Don’t we all?

I needed help. Maybe not for bus fare or a place to sleep, but I needed help. I reached in my wallet and gave not only enough for his bus fare, but enough to get a warm meal and shelter for the day. Those three little words still ring true. No matter how much you have, no matter how much you have accomplished, you need help too. No matter how little you have, no matter how loaded you are with problems, even without money or a place to sleep, you can give help. Even if it’s just a compliment, you can provide that.

You never know when you may see someone that appears to have it all. They are waiting for you to give them what they don’t have. A different perspective on life, a glimpse at something beautiful, a respite from daily chaos that only you through a torn world can see.

Maybe the man was just a homeless stranger wandering the streets. Perhaps he was more than that. Perhaps he was sent by a power that is great and wise to minister to a soul too comfortable in themselves. Maybe God looked down, called an Angel, dressed him like a bum, then said, “go minister to that man cleaning the car, that man needs help.”

Don’t we all?

End of article.

Sometimes we do business, and we become rigid and hard-hearted. We are in leadership roles and we feel like we need to be tough and strong in front of our people, and we convince ourselves we don’t need help.

This is not the time for such kind of thinking. To ask for help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of authenticity and honesty. As I repeatedly cite in my leadership webinars, “vulnerability is the key to credibility.”

We have confidence in our self-sufficiency. But when something we do not like happens beyond our control, we go crazy and wallow in misery. Strange, but people with a deep commitment to their faith are more confident that they cannot control everything. We need to get off our pedestal, stop believing our press releases, and be real. We all need help, and we need humility and courage to admit it and seek it, and I’m one of them.

Do you know what can keep us going? The assurance that God is our ever-present help in times of trouble. I ask for help and He has at His disposal people who are more than happy to help me. Takes a load off my chest. Perhaps this is why I can sleep soundly.



(Francis Kong’s highly acclaimed Level Up Leadership Master Class Online will run from Oct.  13 to 15. For inquiries and reservations, contact April at +63928-559-1798 or and for more information, visit www.levelupleadership.ph)

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