When I was younger, nobody had to remind me to go ride my bike or run around and get into mischief, but taking out the trash was a different story. Like many young boys, I was a wizard at balancing that last cereal box on top of an overflowing garbage.
Growing up, one of my chores around the house was taking out the trash. My job was to recognize a full garbage in the kitchen, empty all the other garbages into the remaining space in the bag, tie the bag up, and then finally put the filled bag into the garage. Ask me how many times I took out the garbage without my mom or dad asking me to. Zero! I don’t think I ever took it out without someone telling me the garbage was full…but I knew it was every time. I was never really surprised when my mom would yell, “Ryan, take out this garbage, it’s over flowing!” Or when my dad would say, “Ryan, take out this trash and don’t make your mother ask you next time!” My mom hated that she had to remind me every time. In my mind, the job would get done regardless of who asked or recognized it…right? One day I realized, probably after I moved out, it meant something to my parents when they would throw something out and there was a fresh new bag lining the garbage can. Because they didn’t have to ask, it showed them that I cared. It meant that I was thinking about my job, and took action if necessary.
Have you ever said (because I have), “Let me know if there is anything I can do to help” after someone tells you they’re moving? Really?! How about just helping them move? Don’t make them ask you. What if the person moving replies with, “Oh, thanks. Sure, we could really use some help packing up the truck.” I know what happens next. You think, “Can you believe it? They really asked me to help. I didn’t really mean I wanted to help. I just wanted to be nice.” Acting like you care after the fact is never as good as just giving.
Imagine if we gave more than necessary. What if you gave your friends, family, customers or employees more than they expected without them asking? I know that if I would have taken out the trash before my parents asked, and had it waiting at the curb for trash day, they might have filled in for me every once in a while. They would have recognized the extra effort I was putting in. If I missed a full garbage here or there, it would have been quietly overlooked.
Don’t wait for your mom to ask you to take out the trash. Don’t wait for your friends to ask for your help. Don’t wait for your wife to ask you to take her out. (I promise Gina, I’ll do a better job). Don’t wait for your kids to ask you to play. Don’t wait for your employees to ask for more. Don’t wait for your customer to ask you to fix a problem. See it as your responsibility, or better yet, your opportunity to do more than is expected. You will get it back manifold. If anything, it will keep you from having a stinky kitchen.