No doubt you were taught by your parents as I was that when you borrow something, you’re supposed to return it in as good condition or even better than how you found it. My son just learned this the hard way, in fact. He borrowed someone’s bike and somehow, by the time he returned it, the kickstand was missing. So, he’s paying out of his own money to install a brand-new kickstand on the bike so that it is returned to his friend in equal or better shape.
Have you ever thought of the company where you work or the position you now hold in the same way? That you and I should “return it” someday in better shape than we found it?
The “leave-it-better-than-you-found-it” attitude, otherwise known as “The Borrower’s Attitude,” is simple, but yet too often elusive. If you and I have the mindset that we are simply borrowing our company… borrowing the position in which we serve, we will by doing so adopt 4 hidden, but extraordinarily powerful principles. Consider these:
- Principle #1 – Understanding its brevity. When I borrow something, I understand that I will not have it forever. At some point, I’ll have to give it back. No matter how long you have worked in your current role, it will end at some point. We’ll hold no position forever. Understanding this helps us appreciate how temporary things really are. It helps frame my identity correctly. At the core of who I am, I am not this company. I am not this title. This is only a season and at some point, I’ll need to return this position better than I found it.
- Principle #2 – Working as a custodian. When I borrow something, I understand that I am not the true owner of it. I’m merely the custodian entrusted to care for it on behalf of the owner. I don’t know about you, but when I’m expected to care for something that is not my own, I go even more out of my way to care for it than if it was my own. No doubt you are the same. You want to show the owner that they made a very wise decision in allowing you to serve as the custodian. So… who really owns your company? Who owns your position and entrusted you with it? Of course, even if you are the legal owner of your own company, it ultimately is still owned by another. God is the true owner and it is He who has placed you in this role.
- Principle #3 – Living to train. Last year, my car was in the shop and a friend let me borrow her convertible. Man, what a sweet ride. Don’t you know that I took my son with me for a nice long ride. Part of our conversation centered on how I needed to make sure the gas tank was full when I returned it and that he needed to help me on a sharp right turn so that I didn’t scrape the curb. In other words, this was an opportunity for me to teach, train and model to him how to handle something that is not mine. When I understand that my position or company is merely borrowed, I’ll take every opportunity I can get to teach, train and model to others to have and hold the same view.
- Principle #4 – Embracing humility. John Ruskin, a 19th-century English philosopher, said, “I believe that the first test of a truly great man is his humility. I don’t mean by humility, doubt of his power. But really great men have a curious feeling that the greatness is not of them, but through And they see something divine in every other man and are endlessly, foolishly, incredibly merciful.” If you and I understand and embrace that we are merely borrowing our position and our company, it forces upon us a tremendous sense of humility. Oh my! We have actually been entrusted with these… these positions, these companies. It is not of our own doing, but of His choosing. James encourages this thinking another way, by stating that “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6).
Someday, somehow and in some way, you and I will be asked to give “it” back. Until then, let’s have The Borrower’s Attitude, understanding that this is a brief season, that we are custodians for the real owner, that we have a golden opportunity to train others in the same attitude, and that all of the above should be clothed in humility. Let’s return it better than we found it.
President & CEO KSBJ
Joe Paulo has been President & Chief Executive Officer of Hope Media Group (a family of brands including KSBJ, NGEN Radio, Hope On Demand and Special Events) since 2018. With an extensive background in media and leadership, he began at KSBJ as Vice-President of Operations in 2017 after serving at Educational Media Foundation (K-LOVE/Air1) as the Director of Donor Stewardship and Communications. He led a division of Columbia International University as Director of Broadcasting until 2014, overseeing the growth of successful radio stations in Charlotte, NC and Columbia, SC. Joe has also provided volunteer leadership at the board of director level for other nonprofits such as Youth Commission International and Christian Music Broadcasters. He earned a Master’s Degree in Business with honors from Liberty University in 2014. In addition to speaking on leadership, fundraising and media, Joe and his wife, Kelly, have hosted or spoken at numerous marriage and parenting events to share their passion for marriage, parenting and adoption. Joe and Kelly have been married for 30 years and have three daughters and two sons.