You Can’t See Your Own Dirt

I’m at a national conference, and while there, I’ve met and talked with tons of people from other states and had the opportunity to talk with plenty of people from Nebraska. Last night as I was thinking about some of these conversations, I had the epiphany that “People Can’t See Their Own Dirt”….let me explain.

Within our professions we expend a great deal of energy trying to fix problems. And, we also are able to quickly identify problems. When we are transferred to another county/state/position in Extension, we quickly can assess where these problems are, and are frustrated, perhaps even dumbfounded that the previous person at that position either didn’t identify the problem or either refused or was incapable in some way of addressing the problem. And yet, as we exited our initial position we also are able to identify issues that we weren’t able to address in the time that we were there. Why is it that as human beings we always think that someone else’s dirt is in someway dirtier? Why are we incapable of realizing that while we see someone else’s dirt, we have in someway created dirt in our wake too, and left it there for someone else to clean up?

Now I hope that you realize that I’m not talking about actual dirt…but rather tasks left undone, policies that changed and yet we were unable to shift the local stakeholders into accepting/embracing, stakeholders that we just couldn’t ever bring around to the level of contribution that they were capable of, companies that could have contributed to our mission etc. We all have dirt in our wake. I’m not asking people to contact me and point out all of my dirt…believe me, I’m fully aware of most of it, I’m sure. I guess I’m just hoping that we all are able to admit that we have left dirt in our wake, and perhaps not judge the person we are following quite so harshly OR be so paranoid about the person following us identifying our dirt and calling us out on it but instead being open to having a conversation about the dirt with the person following us (not stakeholders involved).

We all have made dirt…and well we all have different strengths, talents, and dirt. Instead of pointing fingers and whining, let’s work together toward cleaning it up.

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