We’re doing the best we can, right?

Welcome to week-9 of Work from Home at Search Influence.

Some of you may have shifted your workday focus and / or location sooner or later than we did, but likely you, too, have seen a big difference for a solid 2 months or so.

I typically start our Monday morning, all-team meeting with some thoughts that I hope will be inspirational or, at a minimum, instructive. This is adapted from what I talked about this week. My focus was empathy.

When working in a team, family, or even larger society, it’s very important we are able to see the others’ perspectives. We don’t have to agree with or revel in them, but without seeing them, we limit our opportunity to respond thoughtfully and with presence.

I’ve had a few experiences in the last week or so that reminded me of some important learnings on that topic – thoughtfulness and presence.

One explicit experience was in a couple experiences on the same drive on Sunday. I had stopped well back of a crosswalk prior to turning right to let a pedestrian pass. When the light turned green I gave a momentary pause to assure he’d cleared the intersection and the individual behind me laid on their horn and then sped past once I had completed the turn.

I turned to Angie and I said “I hope that was a healthcare worker”.

Except for retelling the story right now the experience was behind me. I had moved forward, not carrying that individual’s burden as my own.

Which led me to think about an important principle:

Curiosity is a cure for negative emotions.

Dandepani Website Screen Shot I don’t recall whether this was from Dandepani – a Hindu monk some some of us had the opportunity to see speak – or from Eckhart Tolle, a philosopher whose books I’ve listened to.
The idea is this: when someone else does something you might find annoying, recognize that you have a rising sense of annoyance. Honor that emotion by recognizing it. There are no bad emotions.

Then, become curious. Some questions we might ask are:

  • Why did the circumstances lead me to have an annoyed response?
  • What might be going on for that other person which would lead them to the action which initially annoyed me?
  • How might I react if I were in their shoes.

We’re all doing the best we can.

Another really useful learning for me came from the book “Rising Strong” by Brene Brown.
In the book, Brown tells of her own realization that we’re all doing the best we can.

What you may see as evil, inconsiderate or even pitiable is, for that person, in that moment the best they can do.

At any given moment I can’t know your whole story. Perhaps if I did I would understand and justify your actions.

Given that, I have a choice. I can accept that you are doing the best you can in line with the fullness of your story, or not.

When it comes to our one-to-one human relationship, my life is easier if I accept you as you are.

How about you? How are you making sure you stay thoughtful, present and empathetic?