Friday, June 28, 2013

Grace, Kindness, Compassion

Based on recent self-reflection, I believe there is much more room for grace, kindness and compassion in all aspects of my life. And that includes my work.

For some reason I felt compelled to write out some of these goals of mine. I think I have hopes that if you find any of them insightful as I have, that they may prevent you from making mistakes I myself have made.

Please note these are just my thoughts, not to be misunderstood as truths.

1. Grace. n.

"1. Seemingly effortless beauty or charm of movement, form, or proportion.
2. A characteristic or quality pleasing for its charm or refinement.
3. A sense of fitness or propriety.
a. A disposition to be generous or helpful; goodwill.
b. Mercy; clemency.
5. A favor rendered by one who need not do so; indulgence.
6. A temporary immunity or exemption; a reprieve."
I think definitions 4, 5 and 6 are what I am referring to when I use the word grace.
I have been given and experienced the ultimate grace, and believe I need to be more gracious towards others.
Sometimes someone may so or do something that hurts me, confuses me, bothers me...and before I jump to making assumptions, I now feel I need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and show that person grace. Give them grace.
They may be experiencing something in life that caused them to act out of the ordinary and not be themselves. Or they may be under some immense stress or confusion causing them to say something they don't mean.
Maybe my showing them grace is exactly what they need? Maybe not, maybe giving them grace is exactly what I need...still working this one out!
2. Kindness. n.
"1. the practice or quality of being kind
2. a kind, considerate, or helpful act"
This is something I feel I need to practice in my everyday life, as often as I can. I am thinking of one specific instance that I believe I can show kindness in relation to my business.
On social media, I believe that I must be careful in what I post (always learning), in particular being careful to not say anything that is cruel, mean, unkind, disrespectful or hurtful or misunderstood as such, to anyone else. This is something I have always strived for.
I feel that there are times in "this business" we might receive a request from someone that seems impossible. It may first feel that they don't get how our business works, the amount of time it takes to do our work, what we are physically capable of, or what our schedules can allow.
However, I NEVER feel it is okay for me to share these thoughts or experiences on social media. Or anywhere publicly. Period. I always feel that it would be incredibly unkind to do so.
Most of my clients do follow me on social media. Do yours?
I think of it this way: How would it make them feel if I wrote something about receiving "said request from unnamed client" with any remotely negative words to go along with it...and posted it for all to see...and even worse, possible comments others make on that post?  
I for one would probably never, if I were that client, want to work with me again--I imagine I would be hurt, and feel that it was extremely unprofessional behavior.
Instead, showing kindness toward others, should be more than enough to fill up all my posts, right? That is what I am thinking. No need for those negative posts that would be disrespectful, unprofessional or hurtful.
3. Compassion. n.
"Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it."
Oh, have you ever experienced compassion from someone else? Really felt it?
I have, and it is absolutely extraordinary. I sincerely hope to show compassion towards many in my life, and that they can have that same incredible feeling I have had.
Specifically in children's event planning, I am one of many, I am sure, who has received emails from those inquiring about how to start their own children's party planning business. Some seek ideas of where to start, others simply what I charge, and many share many details of their life and development of their passion for children's party planning--and where they hope it will take them.
It seems so easy to think "Why would I tell another business (in my industry) how I started my business, that I took years of blood sweat and tears to build? Why should I want to take the time that I already feel I don't have enough of, to help this person learn what I had to learn the hard way?" When I write it out, it seems sort of selfish-sounding.
Here is a great place I have learned, to be gracious, kind, and compassionate.
My response is simple: First, I am beyond thrilled that someone admires my work. That is a privilege. Second, I thank them for wanting to learn from me. Third, I suggest the absolute best, most truthful piece of advice I can offer: Seek advice from a professional business consultant. Ideally, someone with knowledge of the children's party planning industry.
Unfortunately I do not have a list of these consultants to give them, but I know that professional business consultants are all over the country, and I for one received by far the MOST HELPFUL advice from a professional business consultant--which I had only wished I had sought way before I did so many things the wrong way.
{And I also have referred some to Carolyn Horton of CHS Creative Productions, as I know she is offering business consulting for event planning}.
 So again, rather than feeling offended or upset that someone would want information that I initially may feel is so unprofessional to ask me for--I take a step back, and realize that we all start somewhere. I for one was taught to network when building a business, and I like to give others the benefit of the doubt that that is what they are doing when they reach out to me. In the end, I also act wisely as a businessperson, not disclosing any information of my business.
Well that was a very unexpected that I was able to take the time to sit and write this post. For anyone who may actually read this--I hope you know that I am learning so much as I go on, and I hope you will show me some grace, kindness and compassion, for any outlandish mistakes I may have made in this post!


Maria said...

Lovely! :)

Lisa Stone said...


We all need to practice multitudes of grace, kindness, and compassion in our lives. This is so desperately missing in our culture today. It saddens and frustrates me daily. Thank you for bringing that to our conscience.

I do want to comment on the subject of passing along your hard earned knowledge. I have some very strong feelings about this topic and that has come from years of debating this in my own heart.

The cookie industry, and all industries for that matter, is fiercely competitive in the way you have described. I am a self taught cookie decorator, and pride myself in extensive research and "over" learning. I accept no failures. I do, however, owe so much of my learning opportunities to all of the wonderful information that has been made available on the internet. My entire career began with a very giving person that I originally contacted, just as you described in your post. This took place before cookies became all the rage. There were no informational blogs at that point. This special person shared what information she believed I needed in order to get myself started. She was battling the same thoughts you have. I know. But she mentored me and my life has changed. I will forever be grateful for her selflessness.

I went from a SAHM of 15 years, with a college and Master's degree, who could not find a job, to a successful business girl that now has some self esteem and a direction in life. I am a different person because of that mentoring. It did not take away from her business. As she said, "There is certainly enough room in the world for a lot of bakers!" As a matter of fact, she probably felt grace, kindness and compassion from her undeniable support and generosity :)

I do believe, through many of my own stages of acceptance with this issue, that our culture needs to embrace the idea of mentoring. It is the most gratifying situation to share knowledge and watch someone go off on their own journey. As you said, we all started somewhere. Our journeys are what mold us, after all...generosity included.

I hope that my little bit of wisdom has given you some insight. I struggled with it for so long. Now that my children are in college and beyond, I see how being at the beginning of a career can feel so vulnerable. It only enforces what I have have come to believe.

Have a well deserved vacation with your family. And it was nice to connect on this issue :)

Sharnel said...

I really enjoyed reading this Kate and have been able to take some lessons away for myself.