Have you ever (wait, of course you have) been driving down familiar streets and gotten annoyed...or even MAD that somebody was riding your tail, or missed a signal, or hesitated when switching lanes? Having lived 10 minutes outside of Boston for many years (you know the whole ‘Masshole’ thing, right?), I can easily say that I have... and that anger probably included some choice words, maybe hitting the horn, yelling...
Then, have you ever considered why that other driver is doing whatever they’re doing that you don’t like? Now, I’m not advocating for poor or unsafe driving. But...have you ever been in a rush and not realized that you were riding somebody’s bumper? Maybe heading to the hospital because a loved one was injured? Have you ever been in an unfamiliar town and not known which was the ‘right turn only’ lane? Or parked somewhere you shouldn’t have because you didn’t just KNOW?!?! Or had a child who was just learning to drive? Oh, or maybe you were once, OMG, learning to drive yourself?
These are some things that I need to regularly remind myself of when the anger starts to boil.
None of us know what everybody else is going through. We expect that everybody should act as we do, because, obvi, we’re perfect.
I’m not writing this because of the holiday season. I’m writing this because of many things I’ve been through in the last 6 months... requiring me to give grace and kindness to both myself and others. The whole ‘life is short’ thing? Ce n’est pas bullshit. It’s legit.
A couple of months ago, one of our incredible team (aka family) members fell ill suddenly. This was no joke. One day she was kicking ass as a bookkeeper, and the next she was in the ICU. Of all the things I could relate this situation to regarding grace and kindness, the one that stood out to me was as it related to work.
She had an entire book of clients to whom she was responsible. (I’ll write another post about how we’ve learned to implement systems and processes to protect that.) Now, these clients have their own ‘things’ going on, personal and business-wise. They know that they are paying us to get the job done. And that's what they expect, rightfully so.
Then, boom. ICU.
I’ll be honest–I was an absolute wreck. I was terrified that we were going to lose her, or that she wouldn’t fully recover. She really has become part of my family and I love her dearly. I was like a zombie for the few weeks that we waited impatiently for her to come around.
Guess what that meant? I physically couldn’t just ‘do it’... I couldn’t sit at my computer and get my (and her) work done. I’d sit here and just stare, clicking around for a bit.
So, I asked for grace and kindness from our clients. I was brutally honest about what was going on and that their books were likely going to be behind.
You know what? All that work that we’ve done to curate the ‘right’ clients shone right in my face as these clients sent their love and support, asked for her address to send something, supported our team, and were TOTALLY UNDERSTANDING that things were going to get behind for a bit.
I can’t express how thankful I am that we received that sort of response.
So I continued trying to push through. It wasn’t working so well.
Then I spoke to my incredible life coach from The Little Volcano. Jess reminded me that just as my clients had given us grace, I needed to give it to myself. I needed to allow myself to emotionally process what was going on. I needed to be okay with not being okay. I needed to let myself grieve over the scary situation.
BOOM. (She was right.)
As entrepreneurs, we so often HAVE TO fall into the ‘just do it’ mode. But sometimes we need to step back, take a breath, and accept that we can’t always do it all. That no work can often be better than bad work. We need to trust that we are working with the right people, those who understand that while ‘business is business’, we’re still humans. And we owe it to ourselves and to the universe to give grace and kindness to ourselves and others. Now take that deep breath and give yourself (and that seemingly shitty driver) some damn grace!