I have to admit to you – when I’m stressed out, I’m not very nice. I’m too short in my responses to others, I don’t listen well, and I don’t acknowledge others’ good work. In fact, even when I’m not stressed out I’m probably not that good in thanking people for their help or when they do great work.
This is something I’m working on daily. How can I show more kindness, appreciation and gratefulness to people who help me in my life? This includes my partner, my kids, Richard, and all the good people that work with us at Veritus.
Recently, I met a woman at a conference who was a reader of our blog. We chatted briefly, and then I went on my way to do my “conference stuff.”
After the conference I received an email from her, basically saying she felt hurt that I was brushing her off and not really listening to her. She felt from me that I dismissed her.
That email really caused me to pause. I felt horrible that she felt dismissed by me. I was probably so into thinking about where I was going or the presentation I was about to make, that I didn’t take the time to listen to her properly. I know exactly how she felt. I’ve been in her shoes, when I’ve tried to talk with someone at a conference and I could tell they did not want to be talking to me.
It’s an awful feeling, being dismissed like that. In short, I did not show kindness toward her. Had I shown kindness, I would have really looked at her, asked and remembered her name and listened. I didn’t do that. This was a person who was an avid reader of our blog, someone that appreciated our good work – and I was too busy to spend time with her.
I was so appreciative that she wrote me, because she spoke truth into my life. She caused me once again to evaluate how I treat others and show gratitude toward them.
Richard and I push each other to lead authentic lives. We sometimes fail. But what I love about him is that we allow each other and those around us to tell us tough things, and we choose to hear it and use it to be a bit better.
In this Passionate Giving Blog, Richard and I are always talking to you about how you treat your major donors. How are you cultivating and stewarding them to build authentic relationships? It’s not easy, and it’s why we’re always mentioning it.
But it’s not just about our major donors. It’s also about how you treat others in your life – your family, friends and your work colleagues.
For you, this is a stressful time at work. December is not easy; there’s a lot of pressure on you to make goals. Donors sometimes seem evasive about wanting to meet with you.
It’s exactly at this time that you need to pause, reflect and think about others around you. How are you treating your assistant? Are you listening to your colleagues? Are you showing appreciation to the folks in your organization who are scrambling to send out thank you letters? Have you told your boss what a great support she has been to you? Have you called a board member lately to thank him for volunteering his time? Have you thanked your spouse or partner for putting up with you at this time of year?
Have you been kind to others?
Take a little bit of time to reflect on these questions in the midst of this stressful month. I know you want to treat others as you would want them to treat you. It’s just easy to forget that.