Let’s get this out of the way, I’m a fan of Pope Francis. As the only non-Catholic of my catholic mother’s four children, she’s beyond thrilled that I’m incorporating the Pope into my writing. Score one for MeeShell and it’s 3 weeks before I head home for the holidays-PERFECT TIMING!
So CNN reported yesterday that Pope Francis shared with a group of Italians that he was a bouncer in Argentina back in his younger days. He apparently also swept floors, ran tests in a chemical lab, and did the laundry for other priests in the Jesuit community he was part of. Whether you like Pope Francis or not, he’s living proof that you don’t have to keep the same job you start with.
Occasionally I’m called upon to give a commencement address and in that presentation I speak about other notable people rising beyond what society expected of them. President Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Senator John McCain, Steve Jobs, etc. You can bet I’ll be adding Pope Francis to my list the next time I deliver that speech. These were all people who became more than what society expected them to. The one thing they all have in common? They took risks and didn’t listen to people who said they couldn’t do something. This is what we must do if we want more from our current careers than what we have today.
Just because you’re not qualified for something today doesn’t mean you can’t become qualified.
The Catholic News Service reports, “his work later in life, teaching literature and psychology, taught him how to get people back into the church.” Pope Francis didn’t stop at being a bouncer. He pursued education, training, spiritual guidance, and much more along the way. If you’re at a road block, figure out what the people you admire know and go learn that. Did they go to college when you didn’t? Then maybe it’s time to go back. Do they keep up on the news and you watch the Kardashians every night at the gym? Maybe it’s time to change the channel. Ask yourself what makes the people you admire and want to emulate qualified and go do that.
Build on the skills you learn in even the most basic jobs.
Chances are the skills he learned as a bouncer helped Pope Francis to become who he is today. It didn’t qualify him to be Pope, years of education, prayer, and seeking did that. However, the skills and experiences he had gained along the way helped him become the leader of the Christian world. Proof you can always build on even the most mundane tasks. If you’ve ever negotiated with a drunk outside of a bar successfully, you can probably lead anyone to God. Think about it.
Treat even the laundry person with respect, one day he might be your Pope.
Somewhere in Argentina there’s a group of guys who can say, “Hey! I know that guy. He used to do the laundry here.” That’s right, those guys are referring to the Pope. True leaders treat everyone with respect regardless of their role in society. Be a leader and remember that everyone has the opportunity to become more than the role they’re performing right now. And keep this in mind…perhaps the role they’re performing is what they’re called to do even if it seems menial to us and finding your calling, regardless of the job you perform, is the highest form of self realization.