|Viewpoint: Climbing Ladders and Building Bridges|
Most successful team projects including the Journal of Biocommunication require vision, but a vision tempered with humility and a general acceptance of other points of view. Reaching out to others personally and professionally will help break down any walls of mistrust, elitism, and even hatred that we knowingly or unknowingly may have built. Moreover, caring about others and their opinions will help all of us professionally as we climb our own individual ladders of success.
Motivational speakers, coaches, association Presidents, and many others have used the metaphor of the ladder of success countless times, but it is especially helpful here to explain our drive to be successful. Initially, we all find ourselves at one level or another on this ladder, most likely trying to move up the ladder to a point where we may have more income, more materials things, perhaps more prestige, more importance and authority.
However, we all may experience personal difficulties on our own ladders. We actually may get knocked off our ladder of success due to a corporate layoff and downsizing. Others who reach the upper rungs may only realize afterward that they've made it to the top at the expense of their own family, their friends, or perhaps even their own health.
Those who disregard others and continue to demonstrate egotism will always insist that, "It's all about me, and never about we." These individuals find that they may have achieved great professional success, but that they have lost something meaningful in the process. Sadly, they may have garnered success, but they achieved success without any significance or relevance to those most important to them.
In my opinion, achieving both success and significance takes a real bridge builder. This person not only has vision for success, but he or she also has a deep, underlying appreciation for others. Bridge builders in our own professional associations and our institutions most often demonstrate inclusiveness, have an appreciation of others, and express a genuine concern for younger professionals (especially recent graduates and our younger association members).
The following poem by Will Allen Dromgoole, a Tennessee author and poet, helps to convey this last thought.
The Bridge Builder
An old man, going a lone highway,
The old man crossed in the twilight dim;
"Old man," said a fellow pilgrim, near,
The builder lifted his old gray head:
This chasm, that has been naught to me,
So what are you waiting for, go build a bridge.
2007, The Journal of Biocommunication, All Rights Reserved
Table of Contents for VOLUME 33, NUMBER 3