Peter is an older man who puts one foot in front of the other as he sweeps the street each morning in front of the local school. I have seen him each December on my daily walks on this small island tucked away in the blue seas of the Caribbean. As drivers go to work, they give him a slight horn “toot” in their morning meet and greet. Peter looks up and responds with a gentle nod of the head. He then goes back to his task – walking the same steps every day, cleaning the same stretch of road.
One morning, it was cloudy and when I stopped to say hello. I asked Peter if the locals welcomed the gray skies. He smiled his sweet smile and said in his beautiful, slow and cadenced voice, “You know, we just accept it.”
I came home from our lovely holiday relaxed, with new vigor. Then my website crashed, a client disappeared and on and on. I then remembered my gentle street sweeper friend and his calm demeanor.In a slightly altered version of a popular question, I now ask, “What would Peter do?” And almost always the answer is acceptance. If I do that first, I can move into action if necessary. Sounds a lot like the successful introverted leaders I researched. They don’t go into a panic and react to circumstances they cannot control, even in the midst of chaos.