I think I can safely say that it is never my intention to hurt others or make them uncomfortable. And yet I still do it.
Yesterday, a wonderful and supportive friend shared my Wellness Tip of the Day on her Facebook page. She has done this before and I have so appreciated it. Some of the comments she has received in the past have been what I perceived to be a little negative, which I actually respected because it gave me some insight into how a wide variety of people will react.
Fresh off my intense and wonderful coach-training weekend, I read some “negative” comments and I thought, “coaching opportunity!” forgetting that people have to actually want to be coached. They have to buy-in to the process.
So I jumped into the conversation, upsetting my friend who felt my comments were directed towards her, or worse were attacking her friends, and sending the others underground. So much for starting a dialog!
In the past, making a blunder like this would have made me feel horrible, unleashing my inner Gremlin to harangue me with all the reasons I suck. And interestingly, as I am writing this my little gator Gremlin is definitely trying to dominate my inner dialog.
But one of my foundation principles is that there are no mistakes and that everything is always working out for me—and you—even when it doesn’t look like it.
As much as I wish I could take back that hit of the return key that posted my comments to her page, I am also grateful for the lessons I have learned—or at least remembered in a more vivid way.
It’s not my job to coach everybody. Everyone is where they are and they have every right to be exactly where they are. Everyone’s interpretations are their interepretations. Challenging them is inappropriate and only makes them—and me!—feel bad. It really is better sometimes to shut up and listen.
I would like to thank my friend for giving me the opportunity to gain that clarity. While I would have done anything to spare her—and her friends—any discomfort, I hope very much that there was something of value in this for them, too. And I hereby solemnly swear that I will never jump into a Facebook discussion of something I have put out there ever again.
Next time you make a blunder, do your best to remind your Gremlin that learning is always valuable and that doing stupid things doesn’t make you a bad person. Then turn your focus to all the lessons and opportunities you can mine out of the situation. Sometimes you get the most out of those things that aren’t fun or comfortable.
Together we can do it!