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Tips for Staying Kind When You Aren't in Control

Executive Summary

When life spins out of control, it can bring the ugly side out of the best of us. Emmy Award winning journalist Adrienne Bankert explains how intentionally showing kindness can transform the world around us and remind us of our own sense of purpose.

  • No matter how unkind someone is to you, adopt an attitude of "I'm with you" that values peace above retribution.
  • Be the one whose emotions set the temperature in the room, rather than allowing others' elevated feelings to let your own run out of control.
  • When you sense someone is upset, why not show your support by asking what you can do for them? Being a shoulder for them to lean on may be just what they need to avoid a personal or professional meltdown.

I heard someone wise say, “Be a thermostat, not a thermometer.”

In essence we want to set the temperature in the room, not reflect the temperature. When emotions are running red-hot, a kind presence can be a cool breeze and change the way people feel and act. One huge benefit of kindness is that you have compassion and understanding, even while being wise about who you are dealing with. When you know your power, when you know that you cannot lose, cannot be harmed, and cannot be stopped, you bring a confidence and calm.

Watch: Why Kindness is Important During Uncertain Times

Adrienne shared more tips on remaining kind when you aren't in control of a situation as a speaker for our Back to Business Summit in July 2020.

THE “I’M WITH YOU” ATTITUDE

You know that hurt people hurt people—and it is not personal.

Something my mentor helped me see is that no matter the environment, consider yourself ineligible for division. He encouraged me to initiate an attitude of “I’m with you.” Stay on the side of peace. If people act in any way unkind to you, act as though you never noticed. Practice continuously looking for ways to bring more calm and more kindness, without a word.

One day at work I noticed a younger member of the team and she looked upset. She broke down crying after I pulled her into a conference room to talk. The pressure of deadlines and working seven days a week was wearing on her, and she felt one of the staff was being very difficult and mean. Another time a member of the team was visibly frustrated, angry over their career not going how they planned. They felt they were trapped, and it was causing them to feel they were on the edge of breaking down.

Kindness gets ahead of the curve and helps bring reconciliation or peace to the one who is scared, hurting, angry, or hopeless. It helps them talk it out before they blow up in anger on the job and tarnish their whole career.

When you notice someone displaying signs of edginess, stop and do more than ask how they are doing. Ask them directly, “Is there anything I can do for you?” It will open them up to discuss what is bothering them. If you cannot do anything to help them, you can most certainly give them a hug, an encouraging word, or offer to buy them a coffee.

 

FEELING FRUSTRATED? KILL IT WITH KINDNESS.

There are plenty of times when I myself have been angry that life was not going the way I wanted. Many of the choices we make are our own self-effort to try and do something that makes sense or to control our lives. The path to fulfillment is littered with hardship: We may not get the promotion or raise we think we deserve. We have a medical emergency that ends up depleting our savings. Factor in family, disappointments, and believing that you should be further along than you are now, and it can be a formula for a mental health emergency. Many of us are on the brink of “losing it” when we hit a wall and do not know how to stop feeling hopeless, depressed, or trapped in a dead end.

The best thing to do when you are feeling frustrated is to look for a kind expression. This is more than a random act of kindness. We need to plan kindness in our day just like we make the decision to brush our teeth—as a means to avoid a potential pity party and to realign with purpose.

 

Adrienne Bankert

Emmy Award winning ABC News journalist and Good Morning America correspondent Adrienne Bankert has seen the power of kindness at work firsthand. Determined to pursue her dreams of being on national TV, she took a chance and landed a Los Angeles reporting job. Her new boss told her it was her reputation for kindness throughout her career that was the key to her being hired. Just a few months later, that opened the door to the biggest break of her life, landing a job at a major TV network. Adrienne is now known for her versatility and ability to connect whether interviewing, anchoring, or in the field. She speaks regularly on the topic of kindness as a key to identity and genuine engagement for living life wholeheartedly.

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