What’s your favourite fruit? One of my favourite fruits is Portugal (clementine to most). It’s a citrus fruit, much easier to peel in comparison to its relatives orange and grapefruit. It’s also easy to share – just break off a few pegs and share them with someone. I so love this fruit that it was the first fruit tree that I planted in my garden the year that I moved into my new home.
Regrettably, the tree was one of the casualties suffered when I had to do some drainage work in my garden. I’ve never since replaced it, although I do have other citrus trees now.
The distinctive characteristic of clementines is their sharp odour…their sharp, lingering and clinging odour. Once you start opening the clementine, the rind springs its sharp smell that travels far and wide (this is not the kind of fruit you can eat discretely with no one detecting). What’s more, once that broken rind touches the skin, it sticks to the skin and is one of the hardest odours to wash off. Finally, the odour lingers so that you might have long since had the last of the fruit, but the smell lingers.
In last week’s message, in my piece, ‘What Lies Within‘ I explored the power of what has been poured into you. You will recall that one of the attributes of that power is its enabling power. If you link that message to the clementine, just think of the power within you as the odour of the clementine. Once you’ve tapped into it, there’s no containing it. It goes far and wide; the effect of it is lasting; because the odour clings, it’s easy to figure out who’s been enjoying some clementines.
The power allows you to reach others, be they located close to you or not so close to you. Once you crack the peel of the clementine, the word gets out and that word travels.
Let me ask you a question: are you tapping into that power so that you reach others? Are you tapping into that power in such a way that others will identify you, as they would the person having the clementine? If you are tapping into the power, what are you sharing? What are you pulling out to offer others?
My friends, these are important questions that we must ask ourselves. In the process of HEWing, it’s important that we understand what lies inside, and what we’re bringing out to offer others and to increase our human effectiveness at work. So, I ask the question again: are you tapping into the power, and if you are, what are you offering. How freely and how widely do you offer it and are others able to recognise you as you offer it?
When I ask the question: what are you offering, I don’t refer to goods and services. I don’t refer to your qualifications or to your academic and professional titles. No. I refer to what are the qualities, the virtues that come out. What are the virtues and qualities that define you? How might you be labelled, not in a derogatory way, but rather, in a complementary way? But even if you are labelled in a less-than-complementary fashion, why is that? What’s behind that?
Put another way, I am asking: ‘What are you known for?’ Like the clementine, what is your ‘lingering odour’? Is it love, is it kindness, is it joy, is it peace? Or, is it apathy, animosity, dismay or unrest? What comes out of you when you reach into what lies within to draw out? Is it something that brings others to you, or is it something that pushes them away? These are not easy questions to ask or to respond to because the answers require introspection and honesty. In these times, though, with lives being lost so easily, it’s important that we consider: what am I known for? You know, there’s a question that we ask, ‘What do you give off?’ It’s like asking, ‘What’s your vibe?’ So, what’s your vibe. How do others see you?
I ask these questions not to deride, but to encourage, to exhort us all towards the noble and the honourable. Two years ago, when the hot topic was crime, it was easy for some of us to bury our heads in the sand because we lived in the right neighbourhood, or we had taken the relevant precautions to protect ourselves and our homes. Now that the hot topic is COVID-19, which is not linked to typical factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic reality, but simply to the fact of being alive, it’s important to ask the question: ‘What’s going to save me? What lies on my inside and what am I giving off when I tap into it?’
Let’s explore these questions, shall we? If we’re really to HEW ourselves, to see the best self at work, then now seems like a good time to start.
So, as we begin to look within, as we begin to tap into the power, let’s examine carefully what we have to offer for what we have to offer soon becomes our label.
Friends, accept these words with love, for, far from intending to discourage, they are meant to inspire and to urge us towards better as individuals, and in our communities.
May my message fall upon open and receptive hearts.
Until next time, I bid you