What I learned from the man on the beach

April Sabral

/ Mindset

Standing out and doing the right thing, while not caring about what others think is hard sometimes.

I was reminded of this yesterday while sitting on the beach taking some downtime reading a book. A young man was walking up and down the beach in the water for almost two hours. This was a young guy in his early twenties.

People watching is fascinating, and when I’m on vacation by myself, I love to take time away from the hustle of my day to day life, to observe, listen and learn.

At first glance this handsome young man strolling along North Miami Beach looked like he was collecting shells, however, the more I observed I noticed something much more meaningful. He was collecting plastic, straws, bottles, bags and any other kind of garbage from the ocean.

How many people do you see actively doing this when you are on vacation? Most people are enjoying the sea and relaxing, especially a young man in his twenties!

He did this for the entire time I was there. Which was almost three hours. Wow.

And even more shocking was the amount he collected it never stopped.

As I sat there and watched I had to ask myself, would I do the same thing? Would I spend three hours collecting garbage? And I wondered if others noticed what he was doing. Are they asking themselves the same questions? I wonder if anyone has picked up on what I am seeing, or are they are totally oblivious?

Leadership requires us to be bold, act on things that matter and will make a difference. It requires us to lead by example and inspire others. It requires us to do the right thing over and over again, and this young man chose to demonstrate these qualities by making the choices he did.

It’s not easy to go against the norm. It’s not easy not to care about how others see us. It’s not easy to do the right thing and take action on things we know are good for the planet but not necessarily good for us at that moment.

Sometimes we get stuck in analysis paralysis, we have ideas of doing good but never get to it. This young man reminded me that small actions taken daily can improve any situation if we are willing to do the work.

People are fascinating…as much as there are some that don’t think consciously there are those of us that do. The ocean is a place that we need to look after. Most of us love visiting and swimming in it but how many of us help maintain this amazing wonder, so that we can continue to enjoy it many years from now?

This year I had the fortunate gift to visit India with ‘Me to We” they work to provide clean drinking water to communities across Kenya and India. It was an awe dropping trip and one that changed my life, however once I returned back to the normality and daily routines of my life, it’s easy to take things for granted and forget how fortunate we are.

Yesterday reminded me of the fact we have so much more to do, regarding leading.

Leadership is not something to switch on and off; it’s something we should always demonstrate. Leadership is about adding value to others whether that is within the business environment or the world we live in. Those of us that are in a fortunate role to make change happen and a difference in the world we live in should strive for it. If we don’t what kind of leaders are we? How will we lead by example to the younger generations of leaders that will need to build business through sustainability and improving the world we live in.

This leads me to a book that I am currently reading called “The A to Z of Organizational Culture by John O. Burdett. It is a great book the chapter I read this morning had a line that said, “Talent is a gift, but Character is a choice.”
That young man on the beach indeed demonstrated strong character.

Ask yourself this; What am I doing today, that will impact tomorrow to be better? In Life, In business and the community I live in. Am I a LEADER? And if so what kind of Leader?

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