Day Nine of 365 Acts of Courage and Kindness
Today my act of kindness brought me instant gratification which got me questioning myself in more detail, “Was this why I did acts of kindness?” I know in my heart it wasn’t my intention but what if I receive something in return? To be a true act of kindness I believe it needs to be without expectation of receiving anything in return so am I to refuse when someone gives back to me then? But it really warmed my heart how I was rewarded and isn’t giving also about letting people give to you too?
Let me know what you think. My act of kindness was sending a free of charge extra copy of my book Facing Fears to a lady who has bought several books off me already. She is a therapist who specialises in working with adults and children who have experienced trauma in their life and I just love that my books are going directly to those who need them most.
The delivery had been delayed so I emailed her to let her know that her books were on their way and that there was an extra one in there intentionally for her to gift to someone who needs it most so that she wouldn’t think it was a mistake when she received it. She immediately wrote back to tell me that the gift book will be given to a girl who has had an “extreme” experience and how grateful she was to be able to gift it to her. That was an even better outcome than I had hoped for and I am so grateful it could happen.
But then my fear took over and used it’s favourite little tool ‘guilt’ to play with my head. My fear monkey on my shoulder stood up fiercely and proceeded to fill my head with thoughts such as, “You only do things for rewards” and “You aren’t really kind” until I realised what was going on and stopped it by counteracting those thoughts with some good old fashioned home truths.
Afterwards, it got me wondering where else I let fear use guilt against me and fill my head with negative thoughts and I made a promise to myself to be aware of it more and solidified that with letting my accountability buddy know too.
Now, for my act of courage which was more like an act of facing my fear of vulnerability. I am a big believer in being vulnerable and the benefits it creates in bringing people closer together but it doesn’t necessarily make it easy and today it was a matter of being vulnerable in my business with my business partner of all people.
There is always the fear of losing something when you are about to be vulnerable. It might be losing a friendship like on one of my earlier acts of courage, losing credibility, losing love, or in this case, the fear of losing respect. But the reality is that these things rarely happen if you do have the courage to be vulnerable.
Armed with this knowledge I set up the meeting. I must have been more nervous than I realised because I was on another call when our meeting was due to start (self-sabotage at its greatest) and had to send a message to postpone for fifteen minutes. Finally, it was time to discuss the issue which involved me admitting that I was overwhelmed, feeling burnt out and was struggling to manage my responsibilities on a daily basis with three businesses to run.
Now for some people, admitting that they don’t actually have it all together might be easy. But for me, it was a huge step in vulnerability and although it has been said that I can be surprisingly composed and strong during vulnerable conversations in the past, today didn’t pan out like that. In fact, I was the complete opposite!
Instead, I actually broke down in tears and at times was unable to even string a sentence together. It might have been because of the added emotions swirling within me too (it was exactly a year since my beloved Buster had died, there was also the stress of changing wedding locations, and I had had an emotional conversation with my fiancé earlier) never the less, I was a blubbering mess.
This was not how I had imagined the conversation would go! Thankfully my business partner listened intently and gave such beautiful words of encouragement including acknowledging that I had every right to be feeling how I was and we also discussed my need to appear strong for everyone. It was a fantastic conversation and we then went on to re-structure several of our business processes to lighten the loads of responsibilities I had in my role and she even helped me to deal with an issue that wasn’t even related to our business.
Now, she could have instead, told me to pull myself together and get on with the job and stop being so ridiculous but instead she acknowledged the courage it took for me to be honest with her and out of it came positive changes in our systems that will benefit both the rest of our team and our customers.
By the end of the call I was firing on all cylinders again and excited about moving forward with the various projects within our business and I got more done that afternoon than I had in days. It’s amazing how things just start flowing again if you have the courage to face up to what’s blocking it and be honest about where you are at.