Why are we here? This is a question that I repeatedly ask myself. Why are we here, in this place, doing this business, serving the clients that we serve? This is fundamental question that must be answered in order for there to be purpose and intention in all that we do. For me, I keep going back to a story in the Bible that I believe best illustrates why we are here.
There was a man traveling a dangerous road. The road was known to be home to thieves and murderous men. While on his journey, the man fell victim to the treachery of the road. He was robbed, beaten, stripped of his clothes and left to die. Another man soon came down the same road. He was a great leader in his community. When he came upon the man on the side of the road, he chose to cross the road, ignore his neighbor and continue on his way. Another man soon followed and seeing what his leader had done, he also crossed and continued on his way. Then a third man came along the same road. Seeing the man on the side of the road, he was filled with compassion. He stopped, bandaged his wounds, took him to the nearest town and paid for his full recovery. Does the story sound familiar? It is a story that Jesus told to describe what it looks like to be a good neighbor; to love our neighbor. I believe it also answers our “why” question.
This is why we are here; to love our neighbor, to be good neighbors in our communities and in our cities. Our purpose is to love God and to love others. Everything we do should be in an effort to fulfill this purpose. Whether we are weatherizing homes, processing payroll, entering home assessment forms, answering a phone or meeting with a new homeowner, we should always keep our purpose in mind. Our purpose will give us clarity in the midst of uncertainty, focus when distractions surround, and inspiration when we are weary. How are we different? There are only 6 degrees of separation between us and most other well ran organizations in our industries. However, I believe the distinction is enough to separate us from the rest of the competitive field by miles and miles.
When we serve, we are putting someone else’s interest ahead of our own. This is clearly evident in our story. The good neighbor puts the interest of the man on the side of the road ahead of his own. As I stated earlier, he doesn’t think twice about stopping to help him. It is impossible to ignore serving when you have a servant’s heart. Serving others has become a lost art and maybe it’s because business has changed. With so much business now being done online, it is no longer necessary to truly “serve” someone to earn his or her business. Good customer service is now measured by how quickly I get my package and not by how well one knows the customer. Well we are still in the people business, or better put, we are in the business of people; helping people, serving people. Let’s learn our client’s names, what they like, what they don’t like. Let’s put our self in their shoes and walk a mile. Let’s treat them the way we would like to be treated. That, after all is what being a good neighbor is all about right, treating others the way we want to be treated.
In Martin Luther King Jr’s message “The Good Neighbor” he is quoted as saying, “We have all been called to pull our brother from the ditch. But at some point, we just need to fix that road to Jericho!” I think what he was communicating to his listener was that it is okay to help others directly by meeting direct needs, feeding the hungry clothing the naked. In our case it would be helping families save money on their utility bills or helping contractors deliver quality trade services or by helping first time home buyers successfully close escrow on their first home. But at some point, we need to look at how we can help fix a system that creates inequalities in the quality of life for our neighbors in our communities. This has become the mission of Highlands Energy and the Alvarado Group. We exist to Build, Serve and Lead in the effort of creating sustainable communities. We develop sustainable communities through our efforts to build new high quality living environments while enhancing the indoor environmental quality of existing buildings.