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  • Chris Wharton

Lead with Compassion-Follow with Kindness

The other evening, I was sitting in my car waiting for my wife and daughter to come out of the grocery store.

I was parked next to the shopping cart return area.

A man returned his cart to the area and walked away. The cart slowly started rolling backwards down a slight decline and ended up in the middle of the parking lot.

Another man started walking quickly toward the wayward cart almost immediately. Great job, buddy! Was I seeing a genuine act of kindness playing out right in front of my face!?

Not so fast, as the man got closer, the utter disgust he wore on his face and the obvious disdain he showed towards the other man, who had already reached his car facing the opposite direction, made my heart sink.

What assumptions had the angry man made about the other man? It was clear that he didn’t assume benign intent, and judging from his scrunched-up face, shaking head, dagger-shooting eyes, and muffled expletives, I’d say there wasn’t a lot of compassion there either.

“When we are compassionate, we are recognizing our shared human condition.” People make mistakes, stuff happens, and shopping carts sometimes take on a life of their own!

As we settle into the weekend and prepare for the week ahead, let's all remember to “lead with compassion, follow with kindness.” [Harvard Health Blog]

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