With Sh*t Comes Opportunity

Recently I was walking my dog, Mr. Harvey Milk, through the neighborhood and ran into my neighbor. We had a discussion about the workout class she was headed to. It was a new boxing class that she was afraid she would look silly doing. I said to her, “You are going to do great and remember, most people are still sleeping right now!”

As I walked away from that interaction smiling, Harvey pulled me towards the other side of the street and we came across a large pile of human feces. Knowing that Harvey has a tendency to get curious about anything on the ground, I pulled him away from it and then saw a five-dollar bill on the ground right next to it. Did I pick it up? Damn right I did!

As I kept walking, I had an overwhelming sense of emotions. These were ones that were way different than the thoughts and feelings I would have had 10 years ago, maybe even 5 years ago. Back then I would have been disgusted and judgemental about whomever had defecated there. I would have been mad about it and it would have set my morning into a bad direction, feeling grossed out and disgusted. I would have felt like a superior human to them as I have somewhere to go to the bathroom in private every day. I would have thought I deserved that because I work hard and they obviously do not know work ethic or they would have not been in that situation. I would have walked by it, disgusted, and gone about my day. That is what “past Sara” would have thought and done.

This time was different. I felt a strong sense of empathy and compassion for whomever had to go to the bathroom between two cars on the street. I thought about them as a human being who may have been struggling and without indoor plumbing or a place to relieve themselves; they had to squat in front of someone’s house and car. I wondered how I could have helped them if I had seen them. As I took the 5 dollars, I made the choice to pay it forward. At the end of my dog walk, I went into the garage and found an old strainer and a few bags and some paper towels. I went and cleaned up the mess, went back home and got the watering can and rinsed down the road. I did so with a sense of gratitude that I had the ability to clean this up, to save that person from others judging them, to stop others from having to happen upon human feces on their lovely Saturday morning and to stop the person whose car it was in front of from potentially stepping in it.

It is in that experience that I realized that with shit comes opportunity. I saw an unfortunate situation that was left by a person who had a misfortune of needing to go to the bathroom on the road. I used that opportunity to clean it up and help my neighbors as well as keeping my street clean.

I took that 5-dollar bill, put it in a plastic bag and it is on the shelf in my office to remind me that when you are dealing with shitty situations, you can find a way out of it and improve the experience.

Others deserve our empathy and compassion despite their circumstance.

sara doell
Sara Doell is a CLCC certified life coach, Division 1 college golf coach, Class A LPGA member, co-creator of the Best Parts Podcast and is now a freaking published author. She is a three-time Big East coach of the year, 2015 LPGA National Coach of the Year and was inducted into the Gates Chili High School Hall of Fame in Rochester, NY in 2016. Sara believes in the law of attraction, that the toilet paper goes over and not under and that Charleston Chews should only be eaten straight out of the freezer. She has an irrational fear of frogs, is a loyal fan of the musical “Rent” and thinks olives taste like feet smell (you will never convince her otherwise). She lives in San Francisco with her wife, Caitlin and their rescue dog named Mr. Harvey Milk who spends his time barking at the toaster oven, peeing on every third tree on dog walks and defending his moms fiercely from squirrels and the mailman. Her future dreams include owning a home in a sleepy beach town that is within an hour of a major metropolitan airport, visiting all 50 states before the Big 5-0, petting a sloth and learning how to play the guitar. You can connect with Sara on her website.

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