A new saying emerged in our house last week. Its acronym doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. We sometimes pronounce it “bow-uh-buh” (try it, it feels weird!) but now I’m just saying “Baw-buh.”
The saying: “Be Awesome Without Being Asked.”
(And you really have to hit the “-ked” in “Asked” or someone will get the wrong idea. We have learned this first hand.)
Theresa and I are raising three kids. Sometimes one or more of them will do “just their part” and nothing more. (You may know something about this.) The other night, when the inevitable “but I already did my part” response came flying in, Theresa got a little animated and suggested to that person that they “be awesome without being asked.”
In other words, see the opportunity to help someone out and then do it!
Let’s break it down:
To SEE the opportunity means that we have to NOTICE other people. Which means we have to step out of our three-foot circles of narcissistic compulsion (3C-NC) and recognize the other 3C-NC’s who are sharing our space.
To DO is to take an action right now, however small, that makes another person’s existence slightly better.
A simple home example: one daughter is finishing a project her mom asked her to do. The other is asked to set the table for dinner, usually a shared task. Instead of only doing her part of the job, second daughter notices first daughter involved in project so just takes care of the entire table-setting thing. That’s B.A.W.B.A.
How about at work? A colleague is on a tough project deadline. You’re busy, too, but you allow yourself the small admission that you’re not as busy as she is. So you field a call for her, run some interference, sit in on a meeting. Nothing serious or complicated. A small act that provides a little space. B.A.W.B.A., again.
Or on the sidelines, as a way to demonstrate empathy and a commitment to understanding, like this guy. Definitive B.A.W.B.A.
It’s even possible to B.A.W.B.A. in moments of tension and uncertainty, as demonstrated by this woman in Charlottesville.
Opportunities abound! What will you add to the list?
How will you B.A.W.B.A.?
DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world.