I often tell my kids, “Nothing you say in school is secret. Ever. If you talk about someone, even to your best friend, are you ok with them hearing it?”
I think I’m going to adjust this to “Nothing you say is secret”. Because it turns out this is very true in organizations and communities.
I recently had someone attend my class. At the end, she said “I’m so glad I didn’t listen to (x). She said you were too abrasive. I’ve loved every minute and I would have missed out.”. Now the focus on this was meant to be a compliment but as you can imagine, I focused for the rest of the week on person (x). The interesting thing was I’ve heard from person (x) on linkedin not too long ago. Person (x) was thanking me for including them in something recently. So now I’m spiraling about what person (x) really thinks.
Reactive confrontational Tricia would have called out person (x) instantly. And would have intentionally severed the connection completely.
Empathic Tricia knows I can be abrasive. I can be direct. I can be intimidating. I can be overwhelming. I don’t know the context of that conversation. I don’t know the intent of that interaction. And does it really matter? Yes, it still hurts. Yes, I still wonder if people are fake to my face. But when I’m honest, not everyone is my cup of tea, which means I’m not everyone else’s cup of tea. The question is can I let go of these words that have traveled to me? Can I release them so I don’t overthink situations? Can I move forward with responsibility? The answer has been yes which is both rewarding and relieving. Yet, this experience serves a warning…what have I said that could travel in ways that might not be my intent? Turns out I have to listen to my own advice 🙂
Are you ok with your words traveling?