Be a Beacon – Not Someone’s Last Straw

30 Mar 2020

In these times of stress, don’t be the straw that broke the camel’s back – be a beacon of hope for them instead.

Show Notes: For those who prefer to read rather than watch

Last week I was on a Zoom meeting for a local community group, and there were a lot of small business people at the meeting.

Some were doing fine with their business, others had lost their job, and they were distressed.

One of the guys came to the meeting late, and he was looking, really, really rough. He had obviously not been sleeping well, was unshaven and was wearing some workout clothes that were looking a bit on the rough side.

People were joking out loud in the group about how they were not too poor to buy the guy a razor. Other people were saying that it was essential to look professional on all Zoom meetings and to dress professionally no matter what was happening.

This got me thinking. Remember the story of the straw that broke the camel’s back?

Camels can carry an awful lot of weight if they’re hale and hearty. You can keep adding weight and more weight, and it generally seems OK until finally you add one tiny, tiny straw and the camel’s legs give out from under them, and they can’t go any further.

That’s true for people too.

If someone is feeling suicidal, quite often they report that the thing that pushed them over the edge wasn’t something big or major. It was just something tiny. It was a little tiny straw, a little tiny thing that somebody said or a single thought or they bumped into something that had gone wrong, and that is the last possible straw for them.

I want you to think about that really, really carefully because right now people’s resilience buckets are empty. There’s nothing left in the tank for a lot of people out there.

Even for people who haven’t lost their jobs, they are worried about their families, and they’re worried about their loved ones.

So be cautious with your words.

Think especially about people who are trying things for the first time.

Many small business owners or teachers are trying social media for the first time. They may be trying Zoom or attending their first meetings there.

If someone criticises their spelling or typos or makes comments about what they’re saying or whether or not their video is well lit, then this may be their last straw.

If you’re going to criticise someone, then criticise them in private, and when you do, be very cautious that you are not their last straw. Do not be the straw that broke somebody’s back.

At this time, it is more useful to praise people in public and lift people up.

Become someone’s beacon.

When you’re somebody’s beacon, you give hope and support. You lift other people up, and you praise, and you support your fellow small business owners who are trying things new.

When you are a beacon, you don’t criticise people for making some mistakes. You cheer on their successes, thank them for their work and praise them for giving things a go.

Oh, and the hat that I am wearing in the video? Remember I mentioned about the people in the Zoom call stating that you needed to be professional at all times and all Zoom meetings? This is my rebellion. The world is bananas right now and if this is not the time to wear a zany hat then when the hell IS the right time.

About the Author

Ingrid Moyle

Ingrid Moyle (BA - Psych/Industrial Relations) is the Chief Web Wizard at Heart Harmony Communications. A self-confessed multipotentialite, Ingrid shamelessly blends her passions of human resources, psychology, web design and copywriting. When not hardwired to her computer, she quests for the perfect coffee while chasing virtual reality creatures across the backstreets of Brisbane.
Bowler hat with lightbulb.

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