***Reposting a recent interview with Andrea of the College, Career, Life Blog***
Forgiveness isn’t usually a strategy we consider when trying to get ahead in our careers. It’s particularly difficult to practice forgiveness in our current climate, where inequalities at work continue to surface and trend. But for management consultant Christie Lindor forgiveness has in fact been the primary force propelling her forward in her career. Her newest book, a guided journal called Release: Use the Power of Forgiveness to Get Unstuck & Thrive in Your Career, is due out this month.
“I am a woman of color in a corporate environment–which some people consider an unfortunate set of circumstances,” says Christie. “Quite the contrary. Because of my ability to forgive and release, I have mastered self-accountability in my career, regardless of the perceptions, biases or micro-aggressive actions that others around me may have attempted to project on me based on their own perceptions.”
Below, Lindor talks about using forgiveness as a tool to help ensure career success.
How did you come to the conclusion that forgiveness is so important when striving for career success?
It took many years for me to realize that I was inherently already using forgiveness at work. Working in the prestigious and demanding world of management consulting, I spent most of my career as the only woman and/or person of color in the spaces I was in. As a byproduct of that environment, I faced a lot of subtle (sometimes not so subtle) acts of sexism/racism, microaggressions, and biases from both colleagues and leaders alike. As a first generation American and college graduate in my personal life, I had to learn through experience how to navigate career situations without taking things personally, which was difficult at times.
The ability to forgive and stay focused on what matters at work ultimately became a survival technique that I leaned on heavily. While I couldn’t change the circumstances and adversities I faced, I can change my response to it. Over time once I did recognize this pattern, I mastered the technique so much so that I began to leverage in creative ways that helped me create an edge over my peers.
What are the major benefits of forgiveness in the workplace?
There are both physical, mental, but also business benefits to incorporating forgiveness in the workplace. Forgiveness is not only known to reduce stress and help make an individual more productive, it also helps rewire our thinking and create the capabilities to become more innovative.
Using forgiveness professionally helped me no longer feel the need to be perfect, have to know all of the answers, or expect perfection from those around me. I embrace living in the gray more and leaning on collaborating with my peers to help find the right answers.
Many of us have trouble forgiving others, especially when something seems personal. How can one go about learning to forgive others more easily?
Life is 10% what happened and 90% your response to it. I believe that forgiveness is a self-care technique that can help you redirect energy & ultimately own the outcomes of your career rather than feeling or being a victim of your circumstances.
Can you recommend some healthy outlets for the resentment and anger that might otherwise be directed at our colleagues?
I recommend individuals take time to think about their goals. What micro habits can you incorporate in your life to help you achieve those goals? When a situation arises, lean on those micro habits to create a reality that is on your own terms. For example, I enjoy writing and ideating so I use that as my own micro habit and outlet. I’ve created the habit such that I can write and create content whether I just have my phone, I’m in front of a computer, or I write using a designated notebook and pen I carry everywhere with me.
Are there any circumstances where forgiveness isn’t warranted or should we always be willing to forgive?
One of the key tenets I share in my book Release is that forgiveness doesn’t always mean everything about a particular situation was ok. Forgiving also doesn’t mean that there has to be someone that was completely right or wrong. Forgiveness is about being objectively introspective in a methodical way that helps you take accountability and control of what you can to create the desired outcomes within your career.
Check out my latest book now available on Amazon called Release: Use the Power of Forgiveness to Get Unstuck & Thrive in Your Career.