I was recently asked a great interview question: If you could write a book about your life, what would the title be and why?
My answer: “I Wish I Hadn’t Said That.” Because, sometimes…I wish I hadn’t said that.
Do you ever wish you could take back something you’ve said? Or get the chance for a redo in a situation where you didn’t make the most of an opportunity? While it has happened to the best of us, the challenge is making future adjustments.
I know myself. I’m quick to tell people what I think. Maybe I’m a bit too straightforward. So, while I believe in being honest, I’m trying to retrain myself to think first about, being kind. Kindness is a pretty basic rule of human engagement, and it’s one that is often overlooked—especially in business.
No matter how competitive/cut-throat your market or industry, there’s merit in being nice.
It actually makes you more successful. As a business leader or mentor, being kind makes you more approachable, which enables you to be more effective in connecting with, cooperating with, coaching and helping your team perform at its best.
In 2017, Oxford University sponsored a campaign called “Sincerely, Kindness” in which participants around the world were encouraged to perform acts of kindness each day for seven days. Data from University researchers revealed that performing those kind acts increased participants’ levels of happiness and life satisfaction.
In other words: being kind makes you feel better. It improves quality of life not only for you, but for the person on the receiving end. There is power in that.
I’m always looking for opportunities for self-improvement—and so I’m now focusing on being more mindful and aware of situations in which I can choose kindness first:
- Building people up; providing encouragement
- Responding first with compassion—you never know what people are going through
- Framing feedback/criticism in a more positive manner
- Slowing down to make connections with people even when I’m pressed for time or tired
None of us wants to admit our flaws. But this introspective look at my everyday engagement has helped me make adjustments, and when I do, I feel better about myself. If you have the same tendencies, I encourage you to give it a try!