I have been involved in public service more than half my life. Officially, 28 years on February 4th, 2019. It’s been a journey. I have learned a lot.
I have learned many lessons of humility and patience. I have seen tragedy, violence, hate, fear, happiness, joy and sometimes something in between all that.
You cannot be taught the lessons I have learned without experiencing them for yourself. Smelling the fear, feeling the exhaustion, the anguish and the sometimes the hope.
I do not know what kind of leader I am. But I do hope I am one that folks can learn something from by way of example, by style or just by the way I interact and communicate. I always sort of default on the concept of love when talking about my job. I know I spoke about it in my TEDx Salinas Talk exclusively. But I do feel it’s absolutely true. You cannot spend a life in public service and be successful without, in at least a part, by loving your fellow man/woman/humans.
People often ask me why I encourage criticism, why I thank people for criticizing me or my decisions. My answer: I thank everyone because it matters to me.
Yes, what people think and say matters to me. It does not bother me when folks do not think like I do and are critical of decisions I make or things I say. The fact that they are saying something and have the ability to do that without the fear of judgement or retribution by the subject (me) they are referring too means everything to me and is what I signed up for when I took that oath (well, I have taken many oaths).
I have literally been called every single derogatory name in the book, many multiple times. I have never gotten mad at that. I won’t ever. I just won’t do negative, because I love people and I choose to live with a smile.
I know that some folks do not think like that. That is OK. I do not have that expectation of others. We choose how to live our lives, we do not choose how others live.
This post was originally published on December 20, 2018 at Chief Westrick’s blog.