“If you think you have to choose between being kind and being right… Choose kindness.” – Unknown (It was the subject of a blog post by Steven Colborne)
It’s a Fool’s Choice to think I have to choose between kindness or being right. If I’m honest with myself, the real question is “Where’s my heart with this person and issue?” Many times kindness isn’t even an option, because my heart doesn’t really care about the person or group, or perhaps I’m so frustrated with the people I do care about (because I placed unrealistic expectations on them that they didn’t meet) that I just want the self-satisfaction of giving them a piece of my mind (something I really can’t spare much of these days) and walking away, leaving them to deal with whatever issue they’re facing alone.
Being a safety leader, I can’t tell you how much damage I inflicted on people (in the name of keeping them safe), simply because I was frustrated that they weren’t doing what they knew they needed to do, and I “let them have it” because I had the law on my side, and they were wrong. It was only a few years ago when I realized that when push came to shove in an argument that I cared more about my ego and being right than I did actually helping them to Do the Job Right & Go Home Unharmed Today… I was some caring safety guy, wasn’t I? Once I reached the end of myself and deflated my pride (something that still gets puffed up from time to time, but not as often and not as large), I determined to do a few things different to help people with whom I was in a conflict:
- I try to understand why they are where they are – I need to understand their story.
- I meet them where they were at – not where I think they should be.
- I give them a vision of what incremental success looks like. If I would rank them as a 4 on a 1-10 scale in their situation (10 being perfect), then I give them a vision for 5 or 6 – not 10, which would overwhelm them – not helping the situation.
- I help them improve to the best of my ability, without placing any unrealistic expectations on them (that helps reduce my personal frustration).
- I Encourage them along the way, providing new vision and support as they improve.
My Girls, I Hope and Pray that you will choose relationships and helping people define and achieve their dreams over being right (self-righteousness), always remembering from where God rescued you.
Challenge Question: Where are your opportunities to be kind TODAY?