If you have not noticed, people are on edge these days — for good reason. First let me call out the elephant in the room, and that is the current pandemic and its massive ramifications on the economy, health care, mental health, and politics. Our own security and safety are at stake, too.
Doesn’t it seem that everyone on your Facebook feed has a different opinion about what is going on? From conspiracies, to that this is a political move, the stories, opinions, beliefs are varied, and everyone has a take. If bars were open, you would be able to sit down and have a beer with someone, and you would probably get into an argument as to who was right about what is happening.
Now, as we head fully into the heat of the summer and since you are reading this, you are probably in business for yourself or you work with a small business. With the summer heat, we must keep our cool. You can be in the eye of the storm and still be safe!
The lesson I want to share with you today is this: Do not engage with the opinions, beliefs, and thoughts of others. It is bad business sense. I am not saying to not have an opinion or belief, especially around things like racial equality, decency, and making the community you live in better. What I am saying is to not engage in what others are saying, or at the very least, limit it.
If clients or prospects see what your comments are online, be it on Facebook or on LinkedIn, that comment could lose you clients or prospects. They might disagree with you, even if you have a valid point. In volatile times, it is important to let your actions — not your words — do the talking. When you engage with a viewpoint that might set someone off, or that is opposing, you run the risk of showing up badly online.
So, here is a strategy I am going to share. Please take notes.
Keep Your CENTER
You hear that in self-development talk. Keep your center. It means do not go to any extreme and just keep neutral. If you feel you have to sound off on an issue that we’re collectively facing these days, call on your buddy or friend with whom you can just be “you” and not be judged. Don’t vent on social media.
The “C” in CENTER stands for Curbing your enthusiasm. Yes, some of the issues we are facing are really challenging us to the core, but be mindful to curb your enthusiasm and hold back your views on things. Remember in business, never discuss religion or politics.
The “E” stands for Educating yourself about issues that get you emotional. Take time to understand the things that matter to you, so you can have a pragmatic approach to the things happening on the planet right about now.
The “N” stands for being Neutral. Just have a neutral approach. Deal with your feelings and emotions proactively. I love writing letters to people I am angry with. I write them with swear words included. Then, once I get all my built up emotion out on paper, I burn the letter and let it go with love. (Be careful on this one).
The “T” stands for Truth. Everyone has their truth, including you. No one is right, and no one is wrong. The truth is malleable: It depends on your point of view, beliefs, social conditioning, race, culture, economic status, religion etc. So, keep in mind that what is true for someone else, might not be true for you. Oh, and maybe the T, should stand for Tolerance, too.
The “E” also stands for Empathy. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes before you react. Remember they might have a totally different experience with life and their views, expressions and beliefs might be so vastly different from you. So, practice empathy. See things from their perspective and if you agree to disagree, then so be it.
The “R” stands for Resiliency. I am going to quote the Bible on this one, and I am not overly religious. The point is, “If you get slapped on one side of the cheek by your enemy, give him the other cheek.” Just take the hit, just as they teach in martial arts.
Sometimes, people you encounter need to vent, and venting might not have a single thing to do with you, but more about the stress and challenges they are facing. As the late Dr. Stephen Covey said in the book, THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE, “Seek to understand before being understood.”
In these volatile times, resist being inflammatory. In health, inflammation is the root cause of many diseases. In business, you being inflammatory can cause your business to fall ill, so keep your CENTER.
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