Lessons from my new blind friend
Where do I even start? Today something awakened in me. As a life development coach, it is my job, to guide people, support them, teach and empower them to be the best possible versions of themselves. To take complete control of their mindset, and use that strength to take their life to places they didn’t know yet exist.
I always considered myself to be confident. I know my own ability. I know my own direction and plan to get there. I know my own quirks and flaws. I have always owned my own mind. As long as I can remember; as long as the grass has been green, not a single person has ever been able to change my opinion.
This level of head-strongness can always bring with it some criticism. When I decided to extend my networking to a coaching page on Facebook and liberally allowed people into that world, I felt well prepared for the flurry of criticism that comes. But the level of trolls and people with an angry view that found me took me back.
One day, I was sharing a post about our life choices. I was encouraging my online friends to be thoughtful and considerate about how they live their lives… how they share the knowledge they have acquired and more. A “getting to know you” exercise. Though the post was very popular and positive and stranger popped onto comments;
“grammar isn’t right.”
I take pride in myself in every way possible, and for a millisecond, I was wounded by this public announcement… that my grammar is not 100%. I felt like I was letting all of my followers down. It was a simple extra comma on the post. That's it. It played on my mind so much.
I proceeded to correct myself. Edited the post. Very tentatively replied to this person that I know my grammar and it was a simple error that has been fixed.
But as the days passed, I still worried about the level of grammar on my posts. Do I lack the ability to help others to thrive if I can’t even catch a simple comma before I hit post! I left this friend on my account, hoping he would bring some insight and something positive in future. But I judged him. I’d received some challenging messages over the past few days, so I HAD to have my guard right up.
But then something incredible happened. When posting on another matter, this friend on the internet happened to mention that he was blind. The penny dropped!
Within a second it became apparent to me why the extra comma made a difference to his experience. This sneaky comma... the one i'd allowed to invade my social media, was simply confusing a person on my page, who was trying his best to engage as all others were.
Although I consider myself to be well learned and experienced, I’d completely neglected to consider the various different needs of people sitting on the other side of a computer screen.
It’s so easy to feel defensive and insecure about simple (seemingly negative) comment, but when it happens you just need some PERSPECTIVE. My advice to everyone else and my future self is to stop. Take a breath. Re-read the comment. Cast aside your own perception. Welcome someone else's needs. Carry on with happiness.
This new blind friend taught me a valuable lesson about myself which I am very grateful for.