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Oct 01 2016
A Little Compassion, Please!
Tyler Steenblik, CCE, Young Electric Sign Company

I recently had an experience which made me sit up and remember that a little compassion goes a long way.


A long overdue payment was being disputed. There was plenty of information stirring up the pot. I became involved when the pot was already stirred, and I soon found myself caught in the whirlwind.

Finally, after speaking with my customer two or three times with no resolution, I called her late one afternoon. I had very little faith that the call would resolve anything. I let her talk about her gripes that I had heard before. I listened to all the stories once again about the situation, and it then turned into stories about her poor health, her poor business, her poor family, and her poor employees. I believe I even heard a few complaints that her dog was on his last leg as well. After hearing the stories, in a moment which I thought was a moment of weakness, I said, "I appreciate where you are coming from. I understand some of the challenges that arise when you have problems like these. They can be really hard and can cause problems in our businesses."

HOLY COW! You would have thought I was her best friend! After I hung up, I realized that I had fallen into doing it right. It was more than listening and reflecting back on her words, so she knew I understood what she was saying. I had somehow stumbled into a little compassion. The compassion was the key to slowing down the situation and solving the business side of the human situation.

After the call, I "woke up" and realized what had happened. More than just listening, I had felt compassion.

We are all busy and scrambling to get as much done as we can. Usually, it is enough to work with people on a business level. It's good to remember, however, that we are all existing on this blue ball and we need to work together and help each other.

We obviously still need to do our jobs and our companies need to receive earned payments. I was reminded that day, however, that we need to step back more frequently and remember that it's only money. Given our humanity, we could do a lot better at being human. While there are certainly those people who will take advantage of others on purpose, the vast majority want to do the right thing.

We have heard different ways to remind us to be nice. Phrases such as, "You can attract more bees with honey than vinegar" and "It's better to listen than to talk" are great. My personal favorite is, "Be nice, be kind, be good." The words are easy to understand but less easy to do.

A recommendation from a guy who needs to slow down a lot more is to slow down a lot more. In those situations that require a softer approach beyond reflective listening and understanding, is the even deeper layer that comes from compassion and feeling.