Wednesday, May 6, 2015

To act or not to act?

Each day is full of decisions, isn't it?

  • Do I get up and go to the gym or not?
  • What clothes am I going to wear?
  • What am I going to eat for breakfast...lunch...(second lunch)...dinner...(post-dinner)?
  • How will I respond to that unkind email from a coworker?
  • What am I going to do about that thing I messed up on at work? Tell somebody? Tell nobody?
  • How am I going to respond to a friend who hurt me?

Along with these tactical as well as serious questions, there are the decisions we make without really thinking about them. 

  • How do I spend my free time?
  • How will I treat those around me?

At church on Sunday, the pastor said something that caught my attention and has been on my mind since then. He said "Our decisions make an impact on the people around us - whether we take action or not." 

Sometimes, we think that by not acting or by not choosing between two difficult, opposing actions we are saving ourselves from being wrong, but we are actually making a decision that will impact those around us. 

For example, let's say you missed something on a report at work and it has a small effect on the bottom line but a potentially big effect on your job status. You think about coming clean and telling your boss...but then you think "What's the big deal - it's not THAT much money, and I'll make sure to catch that next month." 

Little do you know, the "little" mistake you made was one more line item that contributed to a decision to reduce staff at the company. It may have been the tipping point. Multiple people are going to lose their jobs, and you might have been able to stop that from happening by taking action and admitting your fault.

Or let's say there are some personal emails you know you've been putting off responding to and you decide to put them off again - they can wait. Little did you know that the kind words and encouragement you might have included in your response would have made a big difference to your friend who is facing a rough time and needs the support. By deciding not to take action, you missed an opportunity to lift someone up.

It's time to consider:
  • What action at work do you need to own up to, regardless of the impact on you, because you know it is the right thing to do and would avoid endangering the jobs of other employees?
  • What word of encouragement have you put off delivering recently that might make a big difference in someone's life?

It's time to think a little deeper about the actions we do...and don't...take.

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