-It’s not the most popular strategy, but it works.
I had a “disagreement” with a high-profile success coach online when Twitter was called Twitter. I challenged her suggestion that revenge was the best motivator for success and she blew up at me.
If revenge motivation works for you, I’m all for it. However, from my experience, it’s not sustainable or rewarding in the end.
To authentically succeed at anything, focus on what must be done, not on what was done wrong to you. Over time, revenge saps your energy. In the end, as was my experience, the person you hoped to impress with your success doesn’t really care. Don’t set yourself up for a major letdown.
People aren’t perfect.
Becoming resentful is tempting if someone fails to live up to a promise or throws you under the bus in front of other colleagues. You might think you gain power over them by holding tightly to this “knowledge” of their faults. However, what do you achieve except increased negative feelings, guardedness and an inability to be authentic?
Every goal you have involves the cooperation of other people, especially when it comes to your career. Where human beings are involved, trust is likely to be broken at some point. Instead of getting upset or angry, you can accept this before it happens. You can be prepared with tough skin and a flexible heart.
Let go to move toward, not away from, success.
Whether you forgive or not won’t change what another has done or the repercussions of their actions. Forgiveness doesn’t change the past, but it does change the present and the future. It allows you to move forward untethered to the energy drain of disappointment, anger and bitterness.
Forgiving is not forgetting or eliminating consequences. It’s an act that frees you mentally and emotionally for what you must do to get the relationship and the trust back on track. Remember, only a little can happen on your own. We need at least some cooperation of others, as flawed as they are, to succeed.
How to forgive professionally.
Here’s how to forgive so you can get back to your goals fueled by wisdom and enthusiasm instead of revenge and resentment:
- Decide to forgive regardless if the other person apologizes or not. Forgiveness is something you do to strengthen yourself. Energy spent being upset depletes, not revitalizes you.
- Think carefully about how you want to respond when someone lets you down. Your response is crucial to future interactions with this person and your reputation. Seek to understand why they did what they did. Collaborate with them on appropriate and just consequences to hold them accountable but not inflame any hostility.
- Be clear about what boundaries they crossed in the relationship. At work, there are expectations and responsibilities assigned to every role. In your personal life, these may be more complex. Either way, you are on the road to forgiveness and change when you clarify boundaries on both sides.
Forgiveness doesn’t make you weak. Unforgiveness does. It undermines your leadership effectiveness, diminishes productivity, stunts communication and creativity and escalates conflict. It also hurts your emotional well-being and mental health.
Take care of yourself and your dreams.
Choose to forgive, create a just response and clarify boundaries for the future. You can’t go back but you can go forward. Doing it with a clean and clear slate makes success a lot easier – for everybody.
Til next week,
Jo-Aynne Von Born, Leadership/Executive Coach
Work Your Authentic Genius.
- What if any grudges am I holding against co-workers and superiors?
- How does this unforgiveness affect the quality of my work and interactions?
- What would it take for me to let go of these resentments?