Kill them with kindness! It is truly that simple. You will always win when you employ this strategy! This one has a few applications. It is a great rule of thumb as you walk through your daily life. At the grocery store, the dry cleaner, your daily errands etc. It’s more important than ever in the face of this pandemic. And I can say I am seeing it deployed regularly. It also works in hostile situations, situations where you’ve been wronged, situations where a mistake was made by you or someone else. And it absolutely works when you are experiencing unjust criticism.
SMILE, IT’S CONTAGIOUS!
So let’s start with the easy one. The concept of smiles being contagious. Have you ever really noticed this? When you smile at someone else it is almost impossible for them to not smile back. This goes such a long way. Receiving smiles throughout your day can make your day brighter. It can lessen the load you carry and make you feel lighter. Don’t be a skeptic, just try it!
Now, let’s go a little deeper! I want you to think of the last situation that really got under your skin. Can you remember how you handled it? Did you let someone’s reaction escalate your own? How did you react? Did you raise your voice? Think of the last time you started yelling at someone during a heated situation. How did it make you feel? What was the outcome?
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: THE BEST WAY TO LEARN!
In my young career I reacted to everything. Let’s say I was “passionate”. LOL. I would react to situations not thinking of the outcome or of how my reactions made me look. What, don’t judge! I’m a Scorpio. It took me a little while to get this shit under control!
I always prided myself on seeing things from multiple vantage points. But I can definitely recall many times when a situation got the best of me. As I look to those outcomes, they are never good. I felt like if I was wronged in any way, I needed to make sure they knew I was wronged…meaning they were wrong and I was right. Oh, boy! I had a lot to learn!
Life is a series of lessons and I will never forget the one I got from one of my best bosses. He was calm in all situations. Mr. Cool as a Cucumber! I worked for a young company and every process had to be created from scratch. I am a process person, so I can say, many of the processes created were done so by me. I was also one of the first people to work in our “digital marketing” department. So a lot of what needed to be done had to be built. Well, when you build something, you never want someone else coming in and tearing it down or replacing it. Fast forward to the day they hired a VP of Digital Marketing. I was in my mid-twenties and this guy came in and really shook things up from the get go. He started changing things around and it felt like breaking everything I had built. One day, I sent an email letting him know that I was not happy with X, Y and Z. I cc’d my boss on the email because I really thought he was going to commend me on my tenacity and my “get up and go” mentality.
He shot an email back to just me and all it said was “Making friends?”
There were great lessons in those 2 words. Damn it! I didn’t need one of his Jedi mind trick lessons. (He was so good at that!) I wanted someone to see this guy and all he was breaking. Fast forward 2 years and guess what, “this guy” was my new boss and he and I were great friends. But it came at the expense of me having to dig out of the hole I created for myself. Live and learn! Hey, you have to make mistakes to learn the lessons!
Now, listen, we learn from all situations. And I believe in taking risks and charging forward more than being reserved and playing it safe all of the time. But that being said, this is one lesson that has helped me time and time again. And it is the number one that allowed me to move past my account exec role and into leadership.
When you react to a situation or a person in a way that is counter to who you actually are, you run the risk of now “being the situation”. In most cases, you change the narrative. And many times the situation at hand, the circumstances that led to this outcome are no longer relevant and the only thing being focuses on is how YOU handled the situation. I also call this ammunition. You are giving your opponent ammunition against you and guess what… it becomes a loaded gun!
Is this easy? Hell no! Sometimes the situation is so outlandish and you just want to lash back. It feels so good to defend ourselves and make sure the person knows they are wrong and that you are right. Think about that for a minute. Do you think that if you lash out the actual outcome will be that they know they are wrong and you are right? Nope. Nine times out of ten, that is not what happens.
Live life, make mistakes, fall down, get back up, move forward, repeat!
Take a deep breath and channel the force if you truly think it will help. I think of it as having an out of body experience. I take a deep breath and envision butterflies, a rainbow, glitter and a trickling stream. What? Don’t judge! It helps! And then, I kill them with kindness!