Those who could, boarded this train, and as promised it was full, even standing room was packed. The train guard then came on the tannoy and apologised for the delay and the overcrowding, explaining how the situation had arisen. But this message was delivered with compassion and good humour. He then walked the train to apologise and finally announced our arrival as ‘I am sure we are all happy to finally arrive at our destination after a very trying morning’. Despite the challenges he was clearly facing he had managed to maintain his positive attitude and despite my own fraught journey, I had to smile. He had managed to amend my own mood with his jovial approach.
We all face difficult days at work and this situation highlighted two important lessons. Firstly, hiding from problems will never help resolve them. His courage and ability to face potentially aggrieved customers earned him considerable praise and compliments as he walked the train. Secondly, his positive, empathic and considerate approach was evident in his choice of words and message. He demonstrated compassion for others, rather than a self-centred concern for his own difficulties. When under pressure it is easy to turn inwards and forget how others are feeling, considering our own needs as paramount. This can only create division and lead to potential conflict as others feel dis-respected so emotion rises. When we face challenges try to maintain that broader perspective and connect rather than retreat from others. We cannot guarantee that everyone will respond positively to our efforts, but it will increase the probability!
When might you need to face into challenges with courage?
How can you maintain your own positive outlook when you are under pressure?
Where might an empathic and compassionate attitude help you?