This morning I left the house early for the airport. Just as the sun started to come up I saw the most gorgeous rainbow. It was one of those rare beauties that complete a full arch from horizon to horizon.
This rainbow was, I knew, there for me. Today was going to be a glorious day.
Of course, the rainbow wasn’t meant exclusively for me. It was there for anyone who chose to see it, and they could choose whatever meaning they elected to impute to its appearance.
At the airport our outbound flight was delayed. Most people in the waiting area chose to see the dark clouds. They complained about the inconveniences of arriving late at their destinations, having to sit for a few extra hours in uncomfortable airport chairs, about the possibility of missed connections.
There were also rainbows there for those who chose to see them. The people on the other end of the counters were working hard to reroute anyone who would miss a connection so they could arrive at some point on the other end of the country the same day they left.
The coffee shop and the bookstore were just a few steps away down the concourse. And the airline mechanics were outside working hard to make sure that when the plane did take off, everyone onboard would arrive safely at the other end. (A pilot I know likes to say that he’d rather be on the ground wishing he was in the air than be in the air wishing he was on the ground.)
We all have that choice every day, don’t we? We can choose to see the rainbows or the rain clouds. The smiles or the frowns. The delays or the efforts of the people working hard to help us get around those delays.
That’s what The Pickle Pledge and The Pickle Challenge are all about. Helping us see the rainbows instead of whining about the rain.
Make Your Organization a PFZ – Pickle Free Zone
The Pickle Pledge shown below is a simple (though not always easy) promise that you make to yourself, and to family and coworkers, that you will replace complaining with gratitude for your blessings and a commitment to take initiative instead of just whining about problems, and that you will no longer waste time and emotional energy on gossiping and finger-pointing.
The Pickle Challenge for Charity is an organizational initiative to make people aware of the personal cost of toxic emotional negativity in their workplace.
The Pickle Challenge is one of the first actions we take when helping client organizations build a more positive Culture of Ownership. As Jim Dethmer and colleagues wrote in their book The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership: “Gossiping is a key indicator of an unhealthy organizational culture and one of the fastest ways to derail creativity.”
The first generation of The Pickle Challenge raised more than $80,000 for charities by turning more than 300,000 complaints into 25-cent donations.
If every one of us took to heart The Pickle Pledge, and if every organization embraced The Pickle Challenge, it would go a long way toward curing the disengagement, burnout, and dropout that are a cause of great personal unhappiness and organizational dysfunction.
That is our goal as we work on Pickle Challenge 2.0. Stay tuned for details to come.