Relax, Reflect, Recharge

The Kindness of Intentional Blindness

Thank you  Michele Cushatt for today’s message.


We were hoping for a long, slow dinner out with good friends. Instead, what we got was a mediocre meal and a rude waitress.

From the moment we walked in the door of the tiny cafe, we felt her chill. She didn’t want us standing by the door, nor did she like it when we sat in a couple vacated chairs while we waited for a table. When our table was finally ready, she seemed annoyed by the number of our children. Then, when we asked for an additional glass of water, she let us know she’d already brought enough for everyone. We must’ve misplaced it. Finally, when we discovered we’d been given a regular pizza when we’d asked for gluten-free, she made sure we knew we must’ve ordered it wrong and it was definitely not her fault.

Now, I’d love to tell you my first instinct was one of compassion and grace. Instead, I looked at this snarky young woman—young enough to be one of my own children—and I considered how a good solid smack down might do her a bit of good. She was rude, disrespectful, unkind, and not at all the example I want my youngest three children to see. Customer service was absent, not to mention basic manners and human kindness. Her behavior was unacceptable, and every part of me wanted to tell her so.

Until later that evening, when we processed what had happened and an insight by my friend doused my fire:

“Did you hear what she said when she walked away? ‘I can’t do anything right.’ She must’ve been having a hard day.”

Just that fast, my annoyance turned to empathy. I knew what it felt like to have one of those days, when everything goes wrong and I feel like nothing but a failure. Sometimes it’s easier to erect a hard shell than crumble in a million pieces. Cold indifference feels safer than sadness.
I can’t help but wonder: What would’ve happened if I’d chosen lean in and extend kindness? What would’ve happened if I’d tempered my annoyance with both curiosity and grace? While her behavior was unacceptable, there’s a chance it might also be understandable. Perhaps she’d experienced a difficulty that day I knew nothing about, or even a loss my own heart couldn’t fathom.

Annoyance does nothing to lend comfort.

But kindness speaks calm to a storm.

“Fools show their annoyance at once,” Solomon said. By all accounts, I act like a fool more than not. I’m easily annoyed, especially with those closest to me, the ones living inside the walls of my house. Some days it doesn’t take much for my adolescent children to trigger a reaction. And, in many cases, their behavior deserves parental correction. But what if I responded to insults with kindness? What if my correction of them also included authentic connection? How might my calm demeanor melt the coolness of those around me?

After all, that is precisely what God does for us. When having a hard day, He doesn’t match my rudeness and obstinate  with His. Instead, He offers relationship, allowing His kindness to bring about the correction I so desperately need.

Have a blessed day!

 

Business Tips and Tricks

Why Empathy is Good for Business

Today we are going to talk about “empathy”.  By definition, empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.  

I know you are thinking you work hard, isn’t it enough for a successful business?  The truth is there are a lot of great traits which go into being successful but in my own life, I have found empathy to be the most important quality.

As a social worker in recovery, I was able to relate to the struggles of my clients.  I was able to share my strength, hopes and experience.  I was able to let them see I had been where they were and had come out of it.  I was able to help some kick drugs, leave abusive relationships, overcome homelessness and get employment.  Was everyone successful? NO!  Some didn’t really want to move forward and weren’t ready to work hard.  I find the same thing when working with other direct sellers.

So why is empathy good for business, especially in direct sales?  

1. Empathy increases the know/like/trust factor

Regardless of the products you sell, people are more likely to connect with, relate to, and ultimately hire/buy from you.  Which of these people would you connect with?

* the person who shares the good, the bad and the ugly of where they were, of their product and offers to help you.
* the person who’s somehow a “natural”.
* the person who doesn’t tell you anything about themselves or their background.  The pushy sales type.

I bet you connected with the person who knows your struggle, didn’t you? It’s human nature! We’re more likely to know, like, and trust people who are similar to us. And – as I’m sure you know – we’re more likely to buy from people we know, like, and trust.

2. Empathy shows you have walked the walk

When you can show your clients you’ve been where they are, found a solution, and emerged triumphant, you’re modeling success.  You are demonstrating you’re empathetic to their struggles.  You are living proof they don’t have to stay stuck where they are! Living proof makes for pretty convincing marketing.

3. Empathy helps your clients/customers/team be more vulnerable with you

When you show them you understand them, you’re helping them feel safe. You’re showing them they can be honest and vulnerable with you. When you say “I get it. I used to be (fill in the blank),” you’re making it easier for them to open up to you.  And the more they open up to you, the more you can help them, and the better their results will be.

4. Data without empathy is meaningless

I look at data to see which blog posts people read, which tweets they liked, and what they purchased. But I want to know more.  I want to understand why they read the blog post or what problem I helped them solve.  It is with this information, we can move forward in our business.

So how can you show more empathy in your business?

  • What have you struggled with?
  • What hurdles have you overcome in your business?
  • And how does this make you uniquely well-qualified to help us overcome something similar?

Whatever your backstory is: share it. Help people to know, like, and trust you. Show them how you can help them overcome what they’re struggling with.

If you don’t know what they are struggling with or how you can help, ASK!  They will tell you.  It’s hard to empathize when you don’t know what they are struggling with, right?

I would love to hear from you.  Share your story with us.  Let us know how we can help you.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Feel Good Friday

Socializing is Key to a Healthy Life

WOOHOO!  It’s Friday and who’s ready for the weekend?

Have you ever opted to stay in on a Friday night or maybe even the whole weekend avoiding being social?  I know sometimes we need rest and me time, BUT did you know social networking enhances your well-being?  Your mind and your body can actually react negatively to not socializing for more than a day.   Are all the introverts cringing, I know I was.  Yes, we are a little shyer and seem to flourish with more alone time than others, but the truth is if you isolate too much, it could lead to loneliness and reduce your quality of life.

Some of the best healthy lifestyle coaches will tell you having a great network of friends and family can boost happiness and health, as well as make you feel more connected to the world at large.

If you don’t make time for social commitments, you can’t build deeper connections with people.  You are at risk of missing out on memorable moments and good fun.  Here are some things which happen to your body and mind when you don’t socialize for more than a day.

1. Poor Self-Esteem

People who continuously isolate themselves day in and day out, tend to develop poor body image and self esteem over time.  Think back to those middle school years, I know for some a painful memory.  The truth is that a girl’s self-esteem peaks at the age of 9 years old and only 4% of women describe themselves as beautiful.  Something as simple as socializing could make a difference.

2. Depression

Studies show depression can be associated with isolating yourself and not socializing for more than a day at a time. Now, I am not advocating going out to happy hour every day, but it’s important to talk with co-workers, phone a friend, or attend a fitness class, so you can see people you know and care about during the day.  Believe it or not,  if you don’t, your mental health could suffer.

3. Loss Of Reality

According to an interview published in the Huffington Post, if you binge watch TV shows (of any kind of show) when they come to an end, it can trigger depression.  Why?  The inability to decipher between fiction and personal reality and when you tune into media too often it can interfere with the brain.  Personally, I think it would take a whole lot of BINGE watching.  What do you think?

4. Body Chills

Did you know you can literally feel chills from isolation in social circles.  If you aren’t surrounded by warmth and comfort, and you are isolating yourself regularly, you might notice a decrease in body temperature and increase in body chills.  Okay, I am ALWAYS cold so I am not sure I buy this one and yes I am an introvert.

5. Decreased Ability To Learn

Studies show lonely people are less able to do well with puzzles and mind games, due to the rewiring in the brain. I do puzzles ALOT to help re-wire my brain from the MS lesions and seem to do just fine.  Doing a puzzle with a friend would definitely be fun but I do enjoy the quiet time with my puzzles.

6. Decreased Sense Of Empathy

A research study shows people who are lonely are less empathetic than happier, socializing people, when shown pictures of pleasant and unpleasant scenarios.  According to this, when you isolate, you’re changing your brain and may hinder your ability to feel and love as well as others can.  Lonely = less empathy?  I always thought you would have more because you could understand the feelings others are having in unpleasant situations.

7. Inflammation

Did you know when you isolate, it lowers your quality of life which can cause depression and stress, which then shows up in the body as inflammation. Inflammation can lead to bloating, increased risk of illnesses, digestive issues, and inability to function.  Or it could be symptoms of a bigger problem?

8. Shorter Life Span

According public health professor at the University College London, being socially isolated for more than one day can lead to a shorter life which actually means dying at a younger age.  I have heard of people dying from a broken heart but it is usually when someone they love has passed away.  So, do we die from the isolation or the fact we are sitting on our butts, eating junk and not physically active?  Think about it, aren’t you more apt to be social when you are feeling good, after a walk or some type of physical activity?

9. Reduced Resilience

Whatever your reason for isolating, remember social interactions are crucial for a person’s happiness. Close, loving relationships and social interactions lead to the development of resilience, coping skills, and higher self-esteem. We all want to have high self-esteem, right?

Now, don’t shoot the messenger because I am not sure I agree with all of these things.  I do believe staying home too often, not being around people (family or friends) can have a negative impact on your life.  Talk a walk and interact with people.  It’s worth getting out more and making plans with friends, family, and co-workers.

Being around people and having close connections can be such a joy in life, so try to embrace it and find a happier balance between solo nights and those with others.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!