How often do we consider the How of what we are doing at work and home?
In this context, I am referring to how we are feeling and how that is transmitting into the external movements and actions we undertake. For those of you who believe in the Law of attraction there is a concept that we receive what we give. That what we put out into the world is what we get back.
I have been teased (sometimes criticised) that I am too trusting in nature. I dispute the ‘trusting’ label as you unfortunately learn over time that you need to have some form of wariness in today’s world. I prefer to think, act and look at things with an open heart.
Giving with an open heart does not mean being foolish
It would be lovely if everything could be taken at face value and people didn’t have ulterior motives but that is not reality. Having an open heart means you will listen, consider and be moved to action based on the truest motive of wanting to do good for the benefit of all. However, you are not a fool.
If someone is successful I genuinely applaud their achievement. If someone needs my help I do what is in my power to do. I am enthused by others excitement, I am sad if they are hurting, I am angry if they are being taken advantage of, I commiserate at their losses, I try to see it from their point of view. I suppose a better definition would be empathy.
Is there room for empathy and an open heart in business?
I would argue that a lack of empathy is a sure-fire recipe for business disaster. There is a phrase much touted by marketers; “People do business with those they know, like and trust.” As with many clichés there is more than a grain of truth in this. There is a new trend for business to offer customer service via social media and some success, especially with Twitter in answering customer enquiries. While I applaud this innovation I also feel it is important that we don’t forget the value of a smile and even a handshake.
The conflict for business is the need to satisfy shareholders and make profit. This can be at odds with an open-heart approach but need not be. Business even has a specific term for showing empathy; corporate social responsibility (CSR). This term encompasses everything from giving to charity, to environmental concerns to treating their staff well.
The challenge for any business as it grows is to not become too distant from those it serves. Maybe the idea of service is old fashioned; but it reflects the ideals of a society that cares not just in the home but in the wider world.
Why do we focus so much on the bad?
I have written before about the negative influence of wall to wall news coverage and I do believe it is crushing our ability to empathise. Bad news hits the headlines daily and if the media were to be believed, there is more than something rotten about our world. This is sad. There are so many deserving causes; not everyone is a “scrounger” or out for what they can get. Good will is being suffocated by racism, hate crime, ignorance and xenophobia. The British are a talented and generally tolerant nation of which I am proud. That talent and generosity is not defined by skin colour, creed or religion but by a passion to make things happen for the good of all.
If we all applied a bit more empathy in our everyday lives, with those we meet, for those not as fortunate as us, for those that need our help and consider the consequences of our own actions and how it might affect others perhaps the world would be a much better place and perhaps we could start trusting things at face value.