This guy is soooooo annoying!
I’m watching an episode of The Profit in which business owner, Erica, faces a big problem: her business is half a million dollars in debt.
Her husband, Andre, keeps making comments that annoy me. For two reasons:
First, I hate to be on the receiving end of such comments.
Second, I know I’ve been on the sending side of such comments.
She’s been running the business for five years and the profitability is close to zero.
I mean it’s not run efficiently, and the margins are slim.
She always needs some money. I also think she miscalculates. Once you calculate the labor costs, [the cost of products] is a lot higher.
The employees aren’t efficient. When I come in here, I always get upset because I see them walking around …
If [she’s] not capable of running a business and making it successful, then what’s the point of it?
You’ve got to be more frugal. You’ve got to figure out how not to blow all that money.
Why did you waste five hundred bucks on a bike?
You’ve got to be strategic with your money. You’re just blowing money. You’re not thinking about long-term.
All this is a waste. We have to know we’re not losing money every time you’re spending …
As in every episode of The Profit, entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis hopes to invest in this struggling small businesses and turn it around with his strategic approach to people, process, and product.
Marcus is a case study of intentional Servant Leadership in action. He knows how to show compassion for people, like Erica, whose mistakes have crippled their business.
He also knows how to help people learn from their mistakes.
The Wrong Way to Be Right
I knew Andre is technically right about Erica’s mistakes. I also knew his words will not motivate her to change. But I can’t put a finger on why.
Fortunately, Marcus can … and does:
Marcus: Andre, I have to be honest with you. Since I met you, you’ve been very critical of the business.
Andre: It’s almost as punishment for wasted money.
Marcus: I think you resent her so much because you don’t think she looks at money the way you look at money. And I’m not going to disagree with you. But the solution isn’t to keep telling her how stupid she is or telling her, “I’m gonna punish you.”
Andre: I’m not saying punish …
Marcus: You said “punish”
Andre: I would say as a repercussion for …
Marcus: What do you mean repercussion? She’s not your child! Honestly, that’s [messed] up!
The most accurate words come across wrong when they’re spoken from a place of punishment — aka judgment.
Marcus summarizes his concerns, speaking directly to viewers:
Marcus: I don’t necessarily disagree with what Andre is saying. What I disagree with is his delivery. If you want to make a point to somebody, you have to do it in a way that helps them be open-minded to the idea.
It’s so easy for me to act as if making other people feel worse will motivate them to behave better.
I don’t make them feel worse on purpose, of course — often, I’m too focused on showing them how right I am to even notice how they’re feeling.
In other words, I’m too busy judging them to remember how bad I feel when others judge me.
Reminds me of a convicting quote from a favorite book:
“We do much if not most of our sinning when we are in the right…” (A Life to Die For: Discover the Secret of Christ’s Transforming Power by W. Clarence & Stephen Schilt)
How to Show Compassion
I want to be less of an Andre, more of a Marcus. I want to learn how to show compassion so that people feel safe to learn from their mistakes with me.
So I asked my Facebook friends, “What words are helpful for you to hear when you’ve made a mistake?”
Here’s what they said:
- There’s always grace.
- I’ve done the same thing.
- It might sound trite but, “That’s ok” is very comforting to me.
- Sometimes the tone speaks as much to me as the words. When someone is externally calm, it’s easier for me to accept grace at my mistake.
- Mistakes are lessons—learning opportunities.
- It’s only a thing. (If it involves destruction of property)
- I can understand how someone would do that. I’ve done it too.
- I’ve been there.
- This doesn’t define you.
- Wanna talk it out?
- That’s happened to a lot of us.
- Let’s make a plan.
- NOT my name. I hate it when people use my name like, “Oh, Cheri.” or “OH, Cheri.” Or “OH, CHERI” I do not want to hear my name when I mess up.
- I have been there and it’s okay. These things happen.
- You are forgiven by God. Pick yourself up and keep moving.
- No worries!
- Oftentimes it’s more about tone and body language than words themselves. I loathe when someone tries to crack a joke about it, or acts like they would never make that mistake because they’re somehow superior, because it usually makes me feel worse.
- Everything is going to be ok.
- God is in control & He will work through this with me.
- God is Good.
- All is grace.
- We all make mistakes. It’s ok.
- I like the person to first say something to put things in perspective because I usually freak out when I’ve made a mistake that impacts someone else. Example, “There’s a mistake I want to bring to your attention but it’s totally fixable and not a big deal in the grand scope of life….here’s what to do differently next time.”
- Just being reassured that they don’t look down on me helps.
- Having someone willing to just jump in and help undo or correct the mistake (“let’s fix this together”), without that “step aside so *I* can show you how to do it right” attitude helps.
One FB friend elaborated
“It’s great when someone is being proactive in letting you know they feel your pain, and have compassion on your predicament with gentle teaching, and it goes so much further in nurturing the relationship and encouraging your spirit than that tone that implies you’re an incompetent idiot who is bothering them with your inferior ways. It’s about making the correction of mistakes a “we” teamwork thing, instead of a “you” alone are to blame thing that draws people in after making a mistake.”
This is one reason I love The Profit — this is exactly how Marcus Lemonis mentors small business owners, and I feel like I’m vicariously receiving compassionate, “we”-focused coaching as I watch.
Another FB friend brought up the issue of repeated mistakes:
“I think it has to do with boundaries, too. I’m less tolerant of mistakes when someone repeatedly makes mistakes and then makes it my responsibility to clean them up. I feel much less generous about doing it together, and sometimes my grumpiness shows.”
This is another reason I’m fascinated by The Profit. Sometimes, Marcus does walk away from a deal. Watching him lay out his expectations for himself and others, and then follow-through with actual consequences, is helping me learn what boundary-setting looks like in real life.
When You Make a Mistake
Download and print this list of “The Best Things to Say When Someone Makes a Big Mistake” to keep on hand as a cheatsheet.
Yes, as a resource for when someone makes a big mistake and you want to know how to show compassion rather than pass judgment.
And as a reminder for when you’re the someone who makes a big mistake.
You want to learn how to show compassion to others?
Begin by learning how to show compassion to yourself.
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You Don’t Have to Try So Hard: Ditch Expectations and Live Your Own Best Life —originally published as The Cure for the “Perfect” Life—releases on September 4th.
Pre-order your copy today!