As one year draws to a festive close and a new year opens before us, we wish each other health, happiness, family and fellowship…
Those things are on my mind as I’ve just returned to Hong Kong from the UK, where I attended a family funeral. That’s particularly tough at this time of year, and this ceremony honored a 52-year old man, who died tragically young of metastasized prostate cancer, leaving three teenage children.
The funeral and the wake were full of beautiful tributes from his work mates past and present, his veterans’ rugby team, his brothers and half-brothers, his school friends from 40 years ago, and the school friends of his children…
In all that diversity there was a theme: “acceptance”. Our family has lost a man who welcomed people into his life and rarely judged anyone.
Perception is a powerful thing.We tend to see certain sides of people – especially at work – and our confirmation bias constantly finds evidence to reinforce our beliefs about who and how someone is. We tend to believe that what we know of a colleague at work is everything that matters. Our perceptions harden into certainties.
But what if the workmate who irritates you when you face deadlines on a project, or the colleague who talks too much (or too little) in Monday meetings is also a scone-baking, jam-making, stout-drinking, comic-collecting, disco-dancing, fancy dress-wearing, face-painting, political opinion-holding, disabled child-cradling, joke-telling, rollerskating (wo)man of mystery – like the man my family has lost.
This Christmas, I have two wishes for you all:
- Wellbeing: Please book your next health check (and, for the stoic, indestructible men out there, please include a prostate exam!)
- Connection: Please join me in my new year’s resolution to reach out to people, to be more curious, to accept more and judge less.
With all my very best wishes,