Unclogging the River of Goodness so that others can grow

Chaudière River, Quebec

Chaudière River, Quebec

There is a river of Goodness that flows within those who wish to improve the lives of others. Their capabilities are carried to the beneficiaries in a variety of vessels (workshops, writings, reports, interviews), all buoyed along with the aim of improving the lot of the recipients.

However, the actions of others serves to dam or obstruct the flow. These representations of human blotting paper should be rapidly removed, rebuffed or retrained with the appropriate disciplined vigour.

Why the stridency? Well consider the flow below.

We build our capabilities (technical expertise, interpersonal skills etc) with a view to improving the lives of some particularly group (patients, clients, customers, businesses.) We exploit these capabilities by delivering them through workshops, engagements, patient interviews and, at some point in the future, observe a measurable improvement in the conditions of the recipients. It is how we add value.

In the return, our success and remuneration (and survived failures) provides feedback to stimulate re-investment in capability development and delivery—which then leads to more value delivery to beneficiaries and so on and so on.

[Yes, I realise the limits of the 'flowing river' analogy but I'm continuing.]

Anyone or any environment which sucks out energy, or blocks the flow in this cycle, will destroy improvement in self which, in turn, destroys our capability to improve the lives of others. Anything which prevents exploitation of the past or inhibits investment for the future deserves examination.

This includes (but is not limited to); disruptive team members; acerbic colleagues; professionally-miserable patients; and self-important, self-absorbed clients. Closer to home of course, the list could include spouses, children and neighbours.

I am not saying that everything or everyone has to be addressed, but the cumulative effective of these small streams is drain the river to a dribble. There is insufficient draft or power to deliver value to the targeted group; reduced value means reduced re-investment in self.

Nobody benefits from a dry river bed.

I speak from experience and the observation of others. Acute decisions are required to remove chronic pain.

Clear the obstructions and remove the dams.

If you're not investing in yourself now—improving what you do and the way that you do it—you will be unable to improve the lives of others in the future.


A copy to the River of Goodness template can be downloaded here.

The activist is not the man who says “this river is dirty.” The activist is the man who cleans up the river.
— Ross Perot
Simon LuntComment