I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be mindful. Sure, it’s a buzz-y term But it’s a term that benefits us, as opposed to ones that leave us feeling hollow and empty. It’s a word like authenticity that, when used correctly, enables us to be our true, vulnerable selves and reap all the benefits that come from doing so.
Back in February at Scribd, we hosted Sharon Salzberg, author of Real Happiness at Work. She spoke about bringing Buddhism to America in the 1970s, the art of practicing lovingkindness, and meditating– things that were all lovely for me to think about, but were admittedly difficult for me to fully wrap my head around.
But she also spoke about respecting yourself and forgiving yourself for all that you do and do not do. She told us a long story about a cab ride she took in New York City, in which the traffic made the driver late to return his cab to its station, and she knew he would be charged a fee. Sharon kept apologizing again and again, taking on the burden of guilt. But then he finally said to her calmly, “The traffic is not your fault, nor is it mine.”
So I ask: Are there things that you continually apologize for that are not your fault? Are there times when you take on blame that has no productive place in your heart?
As a community manager, you’re in the middle of your community and your business, and there are many times you have to apologize to one on behalf of the other. It isn’t easy. Sometimes there will be community outreach efforts that fail horribly. Sometimes people won’t like you or your product or won’t care to join in what you’re building. Sometimes your team won’t want to listen to feedback. Sometimes they do know better. It doesn’t matter. Let all that go. Know that you are doing your best. Know that people are rooting for you.
I am rooting for you.
Be mindful of the blame you put on yourself unconsciously. You may not feel it today or tomorrow, but one day it may add up. There is no reason to let it.
You can watch the Sharon Salzberg video here. She tells the story better than I could. And as a general offering, I’m open to giving you Scribd reading time to read the book. That door is always open for my blog readers.