I’ve been in a slump in my life, which just about knocked me out totally, experiencing a few years with fatigue syndrome and depression. Getting out of that is an ongoing process and I find myself leaning back on old lessons, but trying to make them more real in my life.
One thing that I did was that I added a few sayings that I’ve picked up and that builds me up, as screensavers.
Screensavers, kids, was an old thing that we had running on our computers when we didn’t work at them. Otherwise, the old monitors would etch the text shown into the screen permanently… but they were totally safe sitting in front all day. I’m quite … BZZZT … normal.
I wanted to share them with you and also what I’m thinking about when seeing these sayings or phrases.
Here are the screensavers that I’m flicking through each day.
- Kindness is better - This post
- Complex == Bad. Simple == Good
- What would Jesus do?
- Turn up the good
Sweden has a superhero for kids; Bamse
Bamse is “the world strongest bear” when he eats the special honey that his grandmother brews on her stove. Hmmm - what’s in that thing…
Being for kids, Bamse has a lot of very important lessons to teach:
If you are strong, you have to be kind
No one has ever become kind, by getting a beating
So far about Bamse, let’s talk about why I added
Kindness is better.
One day, when I felt particularly vulnerable I found myself just doodling things on a paper. (Great exercise - try it!) I noticed that words that had to do with kindness popped up a lot. That was important to me and I thought about it for a while.
Being kind is something that I’ve always tried to do. And it’s when I failed that when I felt most unsuccessful. But as a leader, you often end up in situations where there is a decision between two (or more) options and all of them will end up hurting people.
This can really eat you up. At least it did for me, to the point that I could wake up sweating about decisions that were not great for everyone.
Rehashing tough decisions will not make them better - they are already made. Nor will it make the next tough decision easier.
What is needed is a compass, a guide or direction for what kind of decision to try to make. Then if I could align my acts with that I can at least be proud that I’ve followed my intentions.
From this came:
Kindness is better
This is one of the screensavers that pop up on my desktop and here are a few things that I think about when seeing it.
I’ve let people go using this principle; a kind way of letting people go is better. Yes - even when they have underperformed or let me down. This is how I wanted to be treated, so Kindness is better.
I’ve used this to put my grudge against people to rest. Yes, people have hurt me. Probably unintentionally, I choose to think. Because kindness is better. And I leave it and do not hold a grudge, because Kindness is better.
People have taken advantage of my kindness, I’ve been told. I choose to believe that they have not. I choose to continue to be kind because Kindness is better.
If I get to (and I have) design work processes, salary models, or other employment-related things - kindness is my starting point. I strongly believe that you will get what you are sending out because Kindness is better.
Writing instructions to others, I try to put myself in their shoes and try think about how hard it would be for others to pick up what I have been lucky enough to learn. This makes for a better, more relatable text, and hopefully can inspire others to share too. This is why I try to do away with words like “simple”, and “obviously”, etc., because Kindness is better.
Being kind doesn’t mean that I’m silly. Sometimes kindness means straight feedback, saying no (that’s kind to me), or drawing a line in the sand. But that can also be done kindly because Kindness is better.
Let’s end this with a few things about me personally.
Finally, I try to be kind to myself. This is the hardest thing of all, and what got me and others into problems with fatigue syndrome. Everyone that I met during my rehabilitation from fatigue syndrome where their own worst critics, had unreasonable demands on themselves, and were very unkind to themselves. Me included.
But I first try to be kind to myself, because Kindness is better.
Secondly, if I’m not kind to myself which does happen - I try to forgive myself for that. I then pat myself on the back and remind myself that I’m human and failure is part of life. It’s the right thing to do for me because Kindness is better.
These are the things that I think about when that particular screensaver pops up on my desktop.
Find below the picture I’m using and feel free to use it for your screen saver.