The other day I had to let an intern go before the end of his internship because of some mistakes that I just couldn’t abide. It was a situation I didn’t anticipate and one I certainly didn’t relish – but as a business owner and manager, I was the one responsible for making decisions in the best interests of the company – and leveling the blow.
My first instinct – old habits! – was to send an email or call him. But I knew deep in my soul that it had to be face to face.
So when we sat down together, it was after I had said a brief prayer to myself, asking my higher power for guidance in being compassionate, caring, free of anxiety or the need to control, and to act for the benefit of all involved, and come from my highest place.
The result was amazing. I spoke in soft tones and looked into his eyes, which teared up when he heard the news. I spoke heart to heart, offering feedback, building him up instead of breaking him down, offering him guidance for learning from this situation toward improving his career trajectory.
We parted on good terms and I felt that for the first time since I have been in business for myself, I handled a management situation very, very well.
It only took 7 years.
And meditation. And a trip to India. And my own yoga practice, which is not so much physical poses on a rubber mat, but the practice of going deep inside self on a regular basis and connecting with what is eternally true, rather than the surface emotions that drive dramatic ups and downs.
Yesterday, I received an email from my former intern. It was a kind email, an email laced with gratitude, and one which espoused how much he had learned from his experience here. He mentioned the Your People values, and how he strives to instill what my company stands for in him and his career.
It warmed my heart.
Because it would have done no good to tell him how awful he was – he wasn’t awful. He was human and he was young and he was learning, and it was my job to help him learn.
It seems that I have done exactly that. And in the same breath, he helped me learn, too.
This is what it is to come from a higher place, to act for the benefit of everyone involved.
To not fly off the handle, to not throw around phrases like I’m the boss or worse, because I said so.
There are so many toxic workplaces – and what for? How can that ever be beneficial for the bottom line, let alone for personal health and growth?
Thank you, to my intern, for giving me this opportunity to learn and improve. I’m so glad we crossed paths. And I’m so sorry it ended like it did.
Except, I’m really not. Because perhaps this lull can be the worst case scenario for him, catapulting him forward to a better place, a stronger career, a deeper understanding of self.