Ever wondered where the expressions “it’s all business” and “business is business” come from? They come from the idea that in business, being successful means acting purely in the interest of profit and that the decisions you make as a business professional should be completely separate from emotions and personal issues. The trouble with that logic is that it doesn’t take into consideration the effect our actions may have on others and sadly, those expressions are all too commonly used as excuses for the damage caused by those taking those actions.
We don’t believe that being successful in business has to mean hiding the good person that you are. As kindness is this year’s theme for Mental Health Awareness Week (18th-24th May 2020), we wanted to show the massive return to be had from investing in mental health by adopting little acts of kindness throughout your working day that could see you and those working around you, reaping the benefits.
Demonstrating kindness can mean a huge variety of things. When it comes to mental health, sometimes one random act of kindness, even something as simple as a smile to a passing stranger, can save a life and while the large gestures of kindness that you see on social media are wonderful things to do and deserve the recognition they so rightly receive, they are extremely grand and not all of us can commit to making such sizable gestures in our own lives. But there are many little things that you can do that will make a huge difference to your own mental health and that of those around you such as:
Always consider how your actions might affect someone else. For example, small acts of goodwill, like paying on time can make a big difference to a persons’ state of mental wellbeing. For a business, being paid on time can mean the difference between having good cash flow and being able to comfortably manage the expenses of the business and stressing over every little penny going out of the business and worrying about how the business is going to survive past the end of the month. It doesn’t matter how big or small a business is, whether you think they can afford it or not, that income is detrimental to keeping a business afloat. So, if you’re deliberating whether to pay on time, be considerate and try to think about how your actions could affect that business and everyone who supports it. Remember – Sometimes no matter how much we might want or try, for whatever reason, we just can’t afford to pay on time. That’s ok, it happens sometimes but be considerate and communicate with the business you owe money to. This will enable you to work out a payment plan that suits you both and the business can plan for that temporary loss of income, allowing for as little stress as possible in, what could very well have been, a very stressful situation for both parties concerned.
Be kind to yourself!
Are you feeling overwhelmed and exhausted? That’s your body telling you to take a break. To maintain your mental well being, it’s important to take the time you need to rest and recuperate. As a part of the self-employed community, we can say with experience, it’s really easy to put way too much pressure on ourselves and to worry about the judgement of others when it comes to taking time off. In the words of Disney’s Cinderella, we must “have courage and be kind”. We must be kind to ourselves in allowing for the time we need to heal and we must have the courage to push aside any fear of the judgement of others. After all, you won’t get respect from others, unless you respect yourself first.
No matter how you’re feeling it’s important to be patient with the people who are trying to help you. Things don’t always go our way and when that happens, it’s easy to lose control and say something we might regret later. When we do that, no matter how unintentionally, we stand the risk of really hurting someone by negatively impacting their confidence and damaging their self-esteem. What’s more, is that the feelings of guilt that comes with knowingly hurting someone could damage your own mental health. So try to remember to stay calm and be patient. If you do find yourself losing control, walk away. Take some time to take some deep breaths and only come back to the situation when you know you’re back in control.
We all make assumptions and split-second judgements. It’s part of what makes us human. Anyone that believes otherwise, is not being honest with themselves. But it’s how we act based off of those assumptions and judgements, that can make a good or a bad day. The majority of business owners and professionals take a lot of pride in the work that they do. So if you make a negative judgement based on unfounded assumptions, more often than not, they will take offence and it’s a sure-fire way to escalate stress levels and take a situation from bad to very much worse. Being kind can sometimes mean giving someone the benefit of the doubt. So our advice to you is to avoid unnecessary stress by avoiding unnecessary confrontation and keeping assumptions to yourself. If you really must confront someone about anything, make sure there really is something to confront them about in the first place. Be a grown-up about it and investigate first – don’t just point the finger without knowing the full context of what you’re accusing someone of.
By putting your work aside and reaching out to someone for just a few minutes, you’re making yourself available for them to have the chance to get their feelings off their chest or even ask for help if they need it. It’s hard to tell when someone is struggling with their mental health. It can affect anyone at any time and being alone can make you feel isolated and worsen feelings of anxiety and depression. So an act of kindness as simple as hearing a familiar voice at the end of the phone can be really reassuring and comforting. It can really change the outcome of someone’s day and in some instances, their life.
Making mistakes is a fact of life. It’s how we learn. But as we all know too well, being the one to make the mistake is not a pleasant experience. That all too familiar feeling of dread that creeps over us as we realise we’re at fault can sometimes trigger the irrational part of our brains to make us react in one of two very strange ways. The first is to get incredibly defensive and be in denial about the whole situation, to point where your arguments become illogical and futile and you come out of the experience looking rather silly.
Furthermore, this usually escalates the situation into a vicious cycle of he said she said, leaving all parties concerned angry, frustrated and no further forward. The second reaction is to overthink your mistake and beat yourself up about it. We know, mistakes are not intentional so why do we do punish ourselves so much? Either type of reaction can significantly affect your self-esteem and is not good for your mental health or that of anyone else’s involved for that matter.
So, the best way forward if you make a mistake is to be forgiving of yourself and others. “Accept what you can’t change and change what you can.” – This is probably the best piece of advice we have been given, both on a personal and professional level. It means, you made a mistake and you can’t change that. So accept it, learn from it and try to make amends for any wrongdoing or damages done as a result of your mistake in whatever way you can. But most importantly forgive yourself and move on. It’s not always possible to make things right but if you’ve done all you can, then it’s time to move on and forgive yourself. Don’t feel guilty about it, feel relieved in the knowledge that you won’t make the same mistake twice! Remember – If the shoe is on the other foot and someone has made a mistake that has impacted you, try and consider how you would want someone to behave towards you if the roles were reversed. Be kind and show forgiveness. We often feel guilty enough about our mistakes without the added pressure of someone losing their temper.
As a business, we believe in kindness as a core value and it’s reflected in everything we do, hence our mantra – Here to help! For more information on what we do to spread kindness, check out our core values and our blog for the most recent activities in our quest to help.
In our most recent blog find out what happened when we tried a bit of community outreach and turned our attention to those in our most local vicinity!
May 20th, 2020