Obvious statement and one I hear people use all the time. But what we can choose, is how we treat people – family or not.

I was talking with a friend yesterday about my kids and hers. We were talking about how we hope they are there for one another when we are gone and how to shape the start of that. I’m pretty sure we didn’t get to an answer but it left me thinking: while my kids can’t choose their siblings, they still can choose how they treat one another.

Relationships function like a mirror, eventually we reflect back how we are treated (well or not well). My kids and I (and even their dad) have worked through many issues involving one another and we’ve tried to follow those mirror-type rules whether we are using them as a family or with others:

  1. Don’t judge by what they did before. Help people build a new future. We all have a past. We all do stupid shit. But whatever the past, we do change and grow, so instead of judging, we need to support them and help them move forward, with a new understanding of themselves.
  2. Listen well, speak with candor and act with integrity. It’s important to listen first and then to be honest, while also acting with integrity. Relationships need curiosity to grow, candor to deepen the relationship and integrity to continue the relationship.
  3. Treat everyone with kindness–not because they are kindhearted, but because you are. Enough said.
  4. The best teachers are those who don’t tell you how to get there but show you the way. There is no better life joy than helping people see a vision for themselves and how to move forward. I have a friend who helps me with that every time I talk with her. This doesn’t mean you fix them or enable them, but you guide them to their own power. Offer support and motivation. Believe in them.
  5. Never look down on someone unless you are helping them up. We never know how far someone has climbed to get to where they are already. Dignity is the key here – the tables can be turned in a moment’s notice. We are and should always be equals.
  6. Appreciate those who have supported you in your growth, even if they have hurt you along the way. Business is complicated. Life is complicated. You will be hurt along they way. Retain your love and compassion and you can’t go wrong.

I read a quote recently, “No matter how educated, talented, rich or cool you believe you are, how you treat people ultimately tells all.” This feels so true to me. It’s a message I think we forget all too often, especially in our superiority-complex-loving society.

Today let’s remind ourselves (because I know you know this already!) that the only true measure of character, the one you will take with you when all this is over, is how you treated others.

Have an awesome day!