I teach my sales staff the importance of reflection ‘Self reflection is a humbling process. It’s essential to find out why you think, say and do certain things…then better yourself’ I am a firm believer in practicing what I preach…But reflecting on a good or failed sale seems far easier than reflecting on yourself. Too really self reflect you need to delve deep inside and pull out the good and the bad which lurks in the darkest parts of your mind. But which is harder looking at the bad and all your flaws or searching for the good and acknowledging them.
For me it is hard to be kind to myself, I set myself unobtainable expectations that I will never achieve and in turn I set the same unrealistic expectations to those close to me. I live in a constant state of intense pressure, which I then place onto those I love…this pressure is the catalyst for my recent bout of depression and anxiety. I have finally reached breaking point after many years of failing and others failing the unreachable goals something has to change, something has got to give.
Today I am writing a self reflection, today I will search for one good quality in me and publically acknowledge it…this may come across arrogant and inflated, believe me I could list all of my flaws and all of the things I could improve both mentally and physically in a heartbeat..But in my quest to beat depression I need to change how I see things, I need to change how I set expectations of myself and those I love…for once I need to be kind to me.
‘Before I ask you to sit with me, I must be able to sit with myself.
Before I ask you to accept my pain, I have to accept the pain myself.
Before I ask you to love me, I have to madly in love with myself’ -C.Thoth
I am caring… I spend a lot of time supporting others and I am constantly putting myself out to help someone in need. This is something I am proud of I like helping people. A lot of my staff are young (late teens-early twenties) although we are all here to do a job, I care about each of them, they are not just a numbers to me, they are people who are all different from each other and all have different needs.
When they come into work I want them to be happy and enjoy working for me, so I make myself available to them as more than just a ‘boss’. I am someone they can talk too, without judgement and I will be there for them. I have supported staff members through a number of issues like bereavement, relationship difficulties, homelessness, domestic violence, alcohol abuse, mental illness and this is just to name a few.
I am not a counsellor and in reality their personal problems are not my concern…this has been said to me a number of times by other Managers in my position and they are right, but I am more than an authority figure, I am human being and if I can help I will, even if it is not what is required of me in my role and even if at times I feel drained, I hate to see people suffer.
There are a few instances where I have made significant differences to people’s lives just by being supportive and offering advice I would like to describe one such instance:
This instance happened a year ago, I had a member of staff who faced a serious crisis with his Mother who suffers from severe mental illness. This particular member of staff was never a problem, he was always happy and always worked hard, out of all my staff he was the one I never had to reprimand or motivate.
This particular day he came in and I could see something was wrong…he was deflated and withdrawn. We always have a sales buzz in the morning where we play a game or have a quiz to lift the spirits for the big day ahead. During this time I observed Wayne** and I could see he was trying very hard to cover up whatever was bothering him.
Once the buzz was finished I took Wayne into a private room and as soon as the door closed he burst into tears, it wasn’t what I expected from this happy go lucky rugby player, so I knew whatever was bothering him must be serious. In times like that it is hard to know what to do, I just did what came naturally and gave him a hug. I didn’t speak I just let him cry and waited for him to be ready to talk to me.
The issue was that his Mother had deteriorated further into her depression and that morning she called him and threatened to end her life. I was not aware Wayne’s mother had mental health problems as he was not one to air his personal problems.
Wayne had nobody to talk too and was scared to inform his Father about his Mother’s mental state, she lived alone and had recently stopped taking her medication, in the past she had attempted suicide. This is a terrible situation for anyone to find themselves in and Wayne who was only 19 years old had nowhere to turn.
I was stuck, this was a unique situation and I needed to ensure the advice I provided was considered. I thought it would be best to highlight this to my superior (with Wayne’s permission). ‘Not our problem, tell him to get on with it or go home if it’s that bad’. WOW not what I expected but then I did not know what to expect, all I knew was I could not just ignore someone in need who had confided in me and is looking for me to do something. So I did the only logical thing I could think of…I ignored my superior.
I grabbed my laptop and went back to speak with Wayne, after some google work I decided that it would be best to call the NHS helpline and alert them of his Mother’s threats hoping to try and get some support in place. Wayne was nervous of how his Mother would react after some long conversations it was agreed.
The outcome was that the NHS sent someone to his Mother’s property and decided she was a risk to herself and felt it would be necessary to place her in their care. This immediately lifted the pressure off of Wayne and more importantly his Mother was getting the support and help she desperately needed. It has been over a year since this incident happened and Wayne’s Mother is doing great she is back in full time employment and now has a solid support system in place.
The day after we both made the call and everyone had left I opened my draw to pack my things away and inside was a box of chocolates and a letter…it was from Wayne and what he wrote really touched me I still have his letter today and sometimes when I feel really down I take it out and read it… I made a difference in someone’s life simply by giving them strength to ask for help. I have never shown anyone the letter or ever spoke of what happened that day.
I believe my approach to people is what makes me so successful, my team are always happy and we always have fun. I meet all of my sales targets and my team are the only ones to do so…I guess that makes us the best. All my staff work exceptionally hard for me and I work hard for them.
I am sitting here now looking at all the poundland decorations we have littered around our working area and I am acknowledging my good quality …I am caring….and I have to say I am feeling pretty damn good about myself…thanks for reading.
I do not have many followers and I do not have many likes and I am cool with that, but if you are taking the time to read my blog please leave a comment…in the spirit of being kind to ourselves…tell me one good quality about YOU…Merry Christmas.
**Name changed to protect privacy I have written this blog with their permission