Monday, 26 May 2014

The trouble with judging people: Sonna.

Sonna and I consult for the same conglomerate. The first time I heard about her was from Alice. Alice is the secretary to the CEO and she signed up for sessions with me after previously working for a few months with Sonna. Everything Alice had to say about Sonna was negative. She said she was terrible at her job, she was rude, she was arrogant, she was having an affair with the director of Human Resources...
I listened, because in her sessions, she had the right to talk about anything that tickled her fancy and I had to listen, even if it made me uncomfortable. And talking about another person negatively behind their back always makes me uncomfortable. But, I listened and said nothing.
Two weeks after, another client again mentioned the name "Sonna". Again I was told about how horrible a person she was. How she would look down on people, and be rude to almost everybody that worked with her. I was told that because she is having an affair with the director, she feels that she is above everybody. I was told that almost all the people she works with aren't happy and would like to change to our own consulting firm, but that her "lover" has obliged everybody in one of the departments to have sessions with her.
Over the following 4 months, 3 more people brought her name up in conversation. I was obliged to listen. Sometimes, I managed to change the subject, but the name seem to haunt most of the people she had previously worked with.
I mostly pride myself as someone who hardly ever judges other people and much less based on heresy. But, as much as I tried, I thought that 5 people who basically didn't know each other couldn't all be wrong and so, I became wary.
Then, one day, almost a year after joining the company, I had an encounter with her. I have to say that up till that point, I hadn't put a face to the name. I didn't know her.
I was in a session and someone knocked lightly on the door and came in, almost immediately. Then she went on to ask me to change rooms as she was in the next room and that we were disturbing her session. At first, I thought she must be some kind of a top manager or something and apologetically tried to explain that that particular meeting room was assigned to me and that I was sorry if our voices were too high. But, it seemed that she mistook my being nice for stupidity and insisted I change rooms. I then told her that I needed to get on with my client and that she would just have to find a way to deal with it. She stormed off and slammed the door. I was shocked and angry. I was very angry that someone would be so rude.
And then when I went back inside, my client was also fuming. She then told me that that was Sonna. Right there, I decided that everything I had heard about her was true. Needless to say, I was regaled with more tales of similar and even worse incidents that had transpired with a lot of people in the company.
Over coffee break, I told a few other colleagues about the incident and, surprisingly, two of them told me that she had done the same thing to them. At least, I was assured that it wasn't that my voice was too harsh/shrill that set her off. She apparently enjoys stepping on our toes. One of my colleagues said that her client had told her that Sonna hates the fact that our consulting firm came in and the fact that everybody seems to be quite happy with our services. She was trying to tell people that we were not professional and that we didn't have the same qualifications as she has.

Suffice it to say that after that day, I concluded that she is indeed not a very nice person.

To be continued...

Monday, 19 May 2014

For you see..

We should be fully aware of the fact that to every coin, there are always two sides.  We should know that everything we say, do or think will mean different things to different people at different times. We should actually expect and accept that people will many times misunderstand, disagree or have varying opinions about our words or deeds.
I guess that, just like the rest of us, I am also sometimes guilty of forgetting this.
However, I have taken a decision that I will always believe the best of everyone around me.
I will give people the benefit of doubt. I will believe that the people in my life are noble and kind and generous and intelligent.
I chose to believe that nobody is out to hurt me or do me bad, at least not intentionally. I will never be too quick to judge or to jump to conclusions.
And, if I have to, I will remind myself that I just might be mistaken. I will remind myself that love is patient, kind and thinks no ill.
And, I have decided that every time, no matter what, I will chose to display the gentility of words and manner that love gives.
For you see, I have chosen to love...

Sunday, 4 May 2014

People are watching you.

Mum said never to let the opinion of others deter you from doing what you know in your heart to be right.

She however, insisted that we should live our lives with the consciousness of being watched by the world around us and by the heavens.

We were constantly reminded that we have to be the best we can possibly be and to remember to show that best.

Being the best doesn't mean that we had to be perfect, it didn't mean we have to fake things that are not real. In Mum's book, this simply means being honest about yourself, the ability to fall and to rise again. The freedom to cry and to laugh heartily. The strength to be in control of your emotions, both the positive ones and the not so nice ones. We were pushed to admit mistakes and learn from them, because she would say, "that's what real should people do"

"You’re a role model, whether you know it or not, whether you like it or not. People are watching you!, she would say.

"Never forget this and you must take this responsibility very seriously, even when you feel overwhelmed".

Friday, 2 May 2014

Don't make the same mistakes. Learn from that of others'

Mum was a deeply spiritual woman and every time any of us did something wrong, corrections were a huge part of growing up and they were always made with Biblical references.
One of her favourites will be the story of Eli, a judge/priest in Isreal in the Old Testament of the Bible.

"One of the most notable things recorded in connection with Eli is with reference to his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas. These two men served as priests, although they were very worthless men. Eli was very much aware of his sons' sins. The report of their conduct circulated among the people and he knew of it. Indeed, he even administered a mild admonition to his children to persuade them not to sin before God. Yet, that was not enough. Eli was high priest and judge over Israel. He was in a position of authority and responsible for the worship which was offered to God. Whereas he should have taken a more decisive action and probably dismissed his sons as priests, he continued to let them serve. He lacked the righteous indignation and the backbone required to set his sons on the right track. Writing in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, A. C. Grant said, "The character of Eli, while sincere and devout, seems to have been entirely lacking in firmness. He appears from the history to have been a good man, full of humility and gentleness, but weak and indulgent.

Because of Eli's attitude with reference to his sons, God brought judgment against Eli's house."

In Mum's books, Eli, was an overly indulgent parent, failed woefully in restraining his two sons and apparently did a crappy job raising them as Godly men.
Needless to say that she was determined not to make the same mistake.
And so,  whenever we went "off track", Mum would say, and in a very solemn voice,"I will not be Eli! I will not die, neither will I allow you to bring judgement on yourselves nor on this household. You are not allowed any sassy attitude while my blood runs through your veins and you will most certainly not do as you please while you're under my care".

My siblings and I literally got to a point when we felt we had heard and had enough of Eli and his sons.
Nevertheless, we learnt some very vital lessons.
We learnt to be corrected and to take corrections.
We learnt to accept constructive feedback and to face whatever the consequences of our actions might be.
But, above all, we learnt that there are mistakes that could be avoided.

And, this is a lesson I'm still learning: "Don't repeat the mistake of others".
It doesn't matter if they're people personally known to me or people I read about.
I will make my own mistakes and I will learn from them, however, it is decided that I will also learn from the mistakes of others before me and thus save myself the pain.
I will also learn from the successes of others and benefit from them.

Your life, your wardrobe.

Some relationships are like old clothes, there comes a time when you outgrow some of your old clothes or they outgrow you, probably because you gained or lost weight in some places... 

Maybe, because, their colours fade, or because they become too worn or simply just because they don't fit anymore...

Holding on to them will only clog your wardrobe.

It is essential we learn to occasionally clean our closet and let go of some of the old clothes/relationship. You may have to throw them out, or better still, give them to someone else and maybe they might be a blessing to others!
Likewise, from time to time, we will need to upgrade, get some new pieces. Be on the look out! For better items to add to your wardrobe, and better people to welcome to your life.

Let us learn to add new and better things not only to our lives, but also to the lives of the people within our sphere of contact.
Let your life (and your wardrobe) reflect growth, flexibility and positive evolution.
Be a showcase for improvement and betterment.