Thanks so much for listening to our podcast! You’re listening to the Unstoppable Success Podcast series Episode number 17 and I would like to share 3 ways why forgiveness is important to your unstoppable success.
I had a few members of my staff ask me how forgiveness is related to success, especially the unstoppable kind. After the second person asked me about this, I figured it was probably a good topic for a podcast and here we are getting ready to focus on forgiveness.
I am always amazed at the parents on talk shows who are able to forgive those who have hurt their children in some way. The most tragic of these stories come from the parents who have lost their children in drunk driving accidents where someone else was to blame for the accident. I usually walk away from the program scratching my head in wonder of where this strength to forgive comes from.
The common denominator among these people who have suffered tragic loss is a statement they all make that the act of forgiveness was important for their healing process. Most say that as long as they held the anger and hurt that went along with their loss, they knew they would never be able to move on. Some even indicated that the act of forgiving has helped the offender move on with their life too.
As humans we have this marvelous ability to feel and express emotions. On that list of the things we feel and express are hurt and anger. Forgiveness, hurt, and anger are the trifecta of feelings.
In our lives, where hurt and anger exist, so does the opportunity to forgive. People make us mad when they change our lives in negative ways that we weren’t expecting. We might be mad at the guy who cut us off in traffic or caused us to have a minor fender bender last week. We might also experience anger at the cashier who forgot to bag something that we paid for causing us to have to return to the store to pick it up.
We experience hurt when we believe that someone did something to us or said something about us that we think was deliberate and malicious. Think of something that might have been said at the holiday dinner table that may have hurt your feelings, or a comment someone made on social media that made you feel bad.
Maybe someone overlooked thanking you for something you did for them or gave them. These are instances that I have experienced and I am sure you have too at some point or another in your life.
Hanging on to hurt and anger holds us back. They chain us to the past or to a particular incident in our lives. Forgiveness frees us.
If you take the time to think about it, I know you will be able to come up with times when you have been hurt and angry in your personal life. Maybe you are feeling those emotions now. But how do these emotions hold us back in our professional lives? In our careers? In our businesses?
I have coached individuals who have been overlooked for promotions. Some individuals I’ve coached look at corporate policies and procedures, established by the corporation, as unfair. Other examples of reasons to be mad in today’s business world include not getting a raise this year, perceiving that you are doing more than your share of the work, having your budget cut, being demoted, or not having your ideas recognized or acted upon. The rule that applies to our personal life applies here too. Forgiveness must precede the ability to move on and up.
But who do we need to forgive? The offending party is the obvious answer but there is another person that often needs to be forgiven. That person is you. We often don’t realize it, but when we are angry or mad about something we blame ourselves on some level. That parent who lost their child in the drunk driving accident might blame themselves for allowing their child to take the car and go to that party. The person whose ideas are not heard or acted upon in business meetings might blame themselves for not being more forceful or outspoken. This is where the emotion of guilt enters the picture and is what we experience as individuals when a situation in our life or career has gone bad. The critically thinking human being will ask themselves what they may have done to contribute to the problem. When we forgive, we must also forgive ourselves if we expect to be unstoppable. We need to acknowledge that we are human and vow to do better next time.
I want to share three things that I find helpful as an exercise in forgiveness.
- Be aware of what you are feeling and why you are feeling it. Has someone hit a hot button and sent you into the anger stratosphere? Consider forgiving the person who created that hot button for you in the first place. It’s important for all of us to own our feelings and recognize where they come from.
- Recognize that hurt and anger destroy you not the person who offended you. They may not even know that you were hurt or that you are angry. Do you really want to give others that power over you? The next time someone cuts you off in traffic, forgive them.This simple act will help you have better blood pressure and it will have helped the guy who cut you off, get to his destination faster.
- Put your energy into finding positive ways to move on and this includes forgiving yourself. Looking for ways to retaliate is wasted energy. It could be energy that you put into your success. Why give it away? Don’t fall prey to the “I’ll get even” trap. All that scheming, devising, and passive aggressive energy is not going to help you in the long run. Think about the person who got passed over for the promotion. If she owns her feelings, she might ask herself what she could have done better to get the promotion. If in her heart she had done everything she could, then a positive way to move on might be to get her resume together and start the process of looking for a new job. I pray that you find the strength you need in your life right now to forgive those who have wronged you including forgiving yourself.
Because to forgive requires courage and courage requires strength. All great leaders know this. Now you do too.
So take a moment before you move on to your next activity and think about who you might need to forgive. Recognize that harboring hurt feelings or anger hurts you, not the person who did you wrong. This new sense of freedom will energize you, your career, and your business and may be just what you need right now for your unstoppable success.