Before You Speak, T.H.I.N.K.

October 20, 2013

T…is it true?

H…is it helpful?

I… is it inspiring?

N…is it necessary?

K…is it kind?

I saw this poster and immediately copied it and put it on a wall in my office.  I liked it, but I didn’t really feel it in my bones.  I didn’t let it change me.  I suspect it’s like listening.  Until I personalize it and feel the need to improve in my bones, I’m going to think it’s a good idea to listen well, but I won’t actually change anything.

And then I had a session that wasn’t my finest moment.  I sat with where it went wrong and what I wanted to do about it.  And I remembered this poster.  And reeeally let it sink in.

Some of the elements are harder for me than others.  And all of them are relative.  Which was a kind of disturbing awareness.  Truth relative?  Helpfulness relative?  Of course!  What’s inspiring and helpful to me can be overwhelming and daunting to someone else.  What’s true for me may bear no resemblance to your experience.  We may never see that situation with the same eyes or through the same filter.  And I’m delusional if I think everything that’s necessary for me will be necessary for you.

I’m finding that focusing on the K, kindness, is helpful.  It seems to embrace the others.  I can’t imagine running through each letter every time I speak.  But I can set an intention around kindness at the beginning of every day.  I can create a plan to consciously pause and remember my intention–to be kind and more aware of the impact of my behavior on others.  My hope is that with time and persistence T.H.I.N.K.ing will weave itself more deeply into all my communications.

Love to hear what you think of these ideas, and/or  if you have other guides to increasing the thoughtfulness of your communications.