A few years ago, I was quite new at running my company as an independent entrepreneur and like many independent entrepreneurs just starting out I was having my doubts of whether I should really be doing this or maybe I should just get a job just like everyone else. This search enabled me to apply for a job (I knew I was more than qualified for) at Health Sciences North and the VP of Quality at the Time Debbie Barnard interviewed me for the job and after an interview “rejected” me outright for the position.
I was a bit surprised and the learner in me wanted to know more, I wanted feedback on what I could have done differently, why would Debbie miss out on the opportunity to not hire qualified, motivated and willing talent to drive her mission forward? After many follow ups Debbie finally acquiesced (her words not mine) and she explained to me that she could see that my passion was for my company, which indicated to her that I had a different path to take and also provided me with some feedback on some other interview factors, I could work on. On one of our recent calls she mentioned that it would have been completely selfish of her to hire me and not enable me to continue leading my company, which I had such obvious passion for.
This sounds like a story of rejection (of which I have had MANY :)) but more importantly this story is about kindness, Debbie was kind to reject me and she was even kinder to explain why. Everyone’s definition of love and kindness is different, for me it happens to be explicit communication of people’s honest thoughts and feelings at the time; who knows where my path would have taken me had I gotten and become “comfortable” in my day job, I would not be where I am and I would certainly not have any grand ambitions of helping the forgotten children of the world who are “aging out” of foster care or currently sitting in juvenile prison, with little to no hope for the future, simply because of mistakes they’ve made in the past and no one to advocate for them. I will write more about my passion for these children in future articles, but the point being my definition of love and kindness is simply complete honesty & truth from people I respect and care about, even if this truth is outright “rejection” of me. I simply like knowing where I stand and I always make it a point to help others know where they stand with me.
Fast forward 10 or so years later and Debbie and I are now in two different countries and still good friends. I want to thank Bella Englebach and the women from six different countries who attended the women in Lean group today, originated by Karyn Ross (An Amazing Lean Leader, A Published Author and the founder of https://loveandkindnessproject.org/ ), for assigning me this as homework. I am tempted to start a series of something entitled “little things people say or do”…..that have changed the course of my life forever. I am curious to hear from you, what is your definition of kindness? What is something that someone has said or done in the past that was really out of kindness but you only saw it that way after the fact?
FYI – I have not had anyone review this article for edits etc. so the content might change based on your edits / feedback that you may choose to send to me out of kindness.