There’s something about working in social media that makes everyone think you are open to professional advice. Maybe it’s because as long as I’m awake, I’m accessible through one channel or another – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn message, email, cell phone attached to my hip… – or maybe it’s because the social media community thrives on crowdsourcing. Whatever the reason, there have been more times than I can count that people have told me that I worry too much about being honest and fair and that the only way to succeed in business is by taking the same cut throat approach as my competitors. Every now and then I begin to think that they could be right. But the other day I came across this poem, which has been attributed to Mother Teresa but was actually written by Kent M. Keith:
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.
Knowing who you are and what you believe is difficult. Staying true to those things is even more difficult. I’m going to print this out and hang it in my office so I know where to look the next time someone offers their advice.