On Monday I wrote about the 12 Thoughtless Things People Say When Someone Dies. Of course we want to know the right thing to say when someone dies, but what can sound like the right thing to us does not at all sound like the right thing to the person who is grieving the death of a loved one.
When we choose our words for how they are heard, we can bring comfort to those grieving a death.
Here is a quick check list to help you judge whether the words you’re about to say are likely to bring comfort, or only more sorrow. Continue reading
Somewhere in our upbringing many of us were taught to not talk about death, and when death happens, to not talk about our feelings of loss.
Chances are good that by the time the memorial service ends, the family and closest friends will have heard several thoughtless comments that people say when someone dies.
As a logical consequence, when someone dies, we have no idea what to say. So in a well-meaning but ignorant effort to provide comfort, or out of our own discomfort with silence or with the emotional pain of the loss, we open our mouth and insert our foot.
Sadly, ignorance is endlessly creative, and so there are far more than a dozen ways to be thoughtless with our words and inflict pain instead of bringing comfort and consolation. I picked these 12 things to not say when someone dies because I think they are the most likely ones we mistakenly believe are actually helpful. Continue reading
A former boss of mine used to listen to our inputs, and then at some point, she’d make a decision. “This is what I want you to do,” she’d say. When the choice was not clear cut, she might say, “Let’s try it and see what happens. We won’t know if it will work or not unless we try.”
Whether your goal is as high as the moon or something you can accomplish before lunch, you will only reach it by pleasing yourself.
She wasn’t afraid to make a decision, or to change her decision when additional facts came to light. Her decisions were pragmatic, efficient and clear. Even if they were not always right.
What she did not do was expect us to vote or to debate until consensus was reached. Voting would have only served to create a win/lose scenario and give those on the losing side the opportunity to walk away from any commitment to implement the actions necessary for success. Too often consensus deteriorates into a process of making sure everyone gets a little of what they want, without regard to whether the actions will at all address the problem they were intended to address or whether the results are likely to yield the desired outcome. (If you want proof of this, look no farther than the U.S. Congress.)
We can’t run our business or lead our team by consensus. It doesn’t work. We also can’t live our life by consensus, by doing whatever the people near us tell us to do about how to live our life. Continue reading