Excerpted from Linda’s forthcoming book, “Staying Grounded in Shifting Sand”
A colleague taught me an expression I really like- “You are a perfect expression of who you are at this moment in time. You can be nothing other than that.” If you continually judge people based on their worst behavior, you won’t find the gift that they offer. Rather than staying stuck in your judgments, shift to see a troublesome co-worker as capable of being kind, caring, or compassionate. Even if they don’t exhibit these qualities in the moment, see through their behaviors to what lies beneath- a soul being experiencing life.
Accepting others’ frailties and faults requires patience. We all have things to learn. And we encounter those who help us learn our spiritual lessons. Imagine a co-worker you really would like to change. What are they there to teach you? What are they mirroring for you that you need to see in yourself? They have been brought to you at this divinely inspired time for your growth and learning.
For example, if you are supervised by someone poorly skilled, there may be a lesson in there for you on patience or tolerance. Rather than stewing in frustration at someone’s incompetence, especially if there is nothing you can do about it, remind yourself, “We’re all doing the best job we can at any moment.” I also like this quote “Have patience with me, God isn’t done with me yet.” What a great reminder that we are all a work in progress!
When you get frustrated with someone who seems to learn their lessons more slowly than you would like, look back at times when it took you several dozen or several hundred attempts to master an important life skill or spiritual lesson. Honor and bless their journey of learning, as you deepen your own. Find patience and forgiveness in that moment and practice letting the rest go. Staying attached to your frustration or resentment doesn’t do you or anyone else any good.
If you can find ways to help someone learn skills they seem to be lacking, then provide that assistance. Just remember, people generally receive help only when they are ready to shift out of their past patterns. You can’t teach someone who isn’t ready to learn. Instead of worrying about what the other needs to learn, focus on the spiritual work waiting for you. Till your own fertile soil and see what you can get to blossom there.
I love this quote as a greeting for others. Imagine how different our work environments would be if we saw each other in this way every day:
I greet that place in you wherein resides the Center of the Universe
I greet that place in you wherein resides Truth, and Beauty, and Peace and Love.
I greet that place in you where, when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me,
We are One.
For more resources, see our Library topic Spirituality in the Workplace.
Linda is an author, speaker, coach, and consultant. Go to her website www.lindajferguson.com to read more about her work, view video clips of her talks, and find out more about her first book “Path for Greatness: Spirituality at Work” available on Amazon.