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  • Writer's pictureRich Honiball

You Don't Know...

This month, I've been focusing on trying to approach every interaction with kindness. No, it doesn't mean I've gone soft or that I am ignoring bad behavior when it happens. What it means is that I am trying to not to rush to a judgement, even if past experience may guide me towards thinking otherwise.

The reality is, you simply don't know what another person is thinking. What their motives are. What they might be going through personally and/or professionally. How you could both be in the exact same situation but processing it in a completely different manner.

I experienced several interactions this week that illustrated how important this is...

I learned that a person that I have been working with is facing a personal challenge that I never would have suspected. Candidly, it is none of my business, but finding out gave me a perspective of how hard this person is trying to balance things that I am not sure I could.

Approaching a meeting with the preconceived bias, believing that an issue we were facing was caused by policies that another department had put in place, through conversation we discovered that it was my own department that had those policies in place.

I had a mentoring session with someone, and rather than rush to solution / judgement, I tried to listen more. Through the conversation, I found that my initial perspective was not entirely accurate and as I listened and let this person talk through her challenges, she discovered a far better solution.

The initial act of kindness allows you to approach a situation with an open mind, and open heart, and an open to listen. It can disarm the person in front of you and perhaps move you towards a conversation where together, you can find common ground and even a solution that otherwise wouldn't have been obvious at first.

You simply don't know when the simple act may be the difference in someone's day. I sent a quick note to an industry peer letting her know how much I respected a project that her team had launched. Later that week, I received a note back from her thanking me because at that "moment", she was struggling a bit and needed to hear that her efforts made a difference. I told a story a while back about being completely overwhelmed, and having a peer reach out to me and ask "how can I take a bit of weight off of your shoulders?" He couldn't, except in that simple act of kindness, which had a more positive impact than anything else he could have done.

As for the attached video, please forgive the background noise. Remember that I am experimenting with this, pushing myself into that zone of being uncomfortable - in this case recording a video while sitting (socially distanced, of course) in a large area with people milling about. What I didn't think of?

Yeup...the background noise! Lesson learned...

(You can follow me @rhoniball and connect with me at The opinions expressed are my own, and subject to change, but I will admit that they are highly influenced by my wife, daughter, and several others....)


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