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Today is the one day anniversary of my GoFundMe.  I did a GoFundMe in regards to restoring my teeth. Before I begin I want to say thank you to everyone that shared it, donated to it, and made it so my smile is a hell of a lot better than it was a year ago.  What a difference a year makes.

It got me reminiscing about the start of the campaign, thinking about actions.  Specifically, mine, and how sometimes an action can have a different meaning to a lot of people, and in the last year I’ve had a lot of time to ponder how Intention, Impact and Interpretation play key reasons in why people lose friendships, trust, and by and large how things can fall apart.

The beginning of my campaign drove this point home last year.  My intention was to tell my story, and it led to quite a few unexpected results.  Not the least of which a former mentor of mine interrupting the proceedings.  It made me think about this in regards to how all of us see things differently, and why.  I concluded that it has to do with three things.

Intentions

I’m not going to dwell on the GoFundMe, but talk about another incident that happened awhile ago.  A friend of mine was travelling abroad, and was in a spot where they needed money, and I could help them.  The problem with this is that people tend to have a hard time when you give them money for nothing.  For some reason it doesn’t sit well.  I had need of an editor, and offered them the job to do so.

That really, was all my intentions.  I believe that all of us by and large, have good intentions with everything we do. Call me naive, call me foolish, but for me, it takes a lot of work to be malicious and deliberate.  Most of us when we do things, only intend the best.  

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions and it’s very true.  Good intentions are dangerous not because they aren’t well meaning, but rather because they are inarguable.  I mean, I wanted to do a good thing for no other reason than they were my friend and needed help.  What’s wrong with that?

What happened was another story altogether.

Impact

Much like intentions, impact brooks no argument either.  Impact is the result of the actions and once it’s played out, it’s played out.  No matter how good the intentions are, sometimes the result is crap. The project I asked them to edit was a lot bigger than the budget than I paid for. I should have said something, offered more money, done something to compensate for that.  I didn’t.

I underestimated the workload and how that person felt about being treated.  Long story short, I fucked up, and they felt like crap.

I think more than anything they felt disrespected and unappreciated for what I did.  And I can’t argue that this was the impact of what I did.  I made mistakes and I should have done quite a few things differently.

I didn’t.  That’s on me.

I didn’t mean for things to go FUBAR, but it happened.  It just didn’t work out, and neither of us were happy with the other as a result.  They haven’t spoken with me since.

Interpretation

To top things off, things get murky here.  One person’s interpretation of this could be that I was trying to take advantage of my friend.  From my point of view, I was just trying to help them in a tough spot.  In hindsight, I should have just given them the money.  I’d rather have them suffer their pride instead of losing a friend.

Was I a scumbag?  Or did I just make a mistake?  You decide.  That’s the thing about interpretation.  It’s always open to debate, and we could go back and forth forever.  On top of that, the truth doesn’t give a damn what I or anyone else thinks on the matter.  It just is.

The truth? I fucked up. No ifs, ands or buts. I wish I had done it differently. I wish I could apologize.  I can’t, and it sucks.

This is the absolute shittiest part about being a boss.  At the end of the day, we’re human beings trying to do what he have to.  The responsibility of things going to hell is always squarely on the guy in charge. And sometimes the bucket of crap you got to swallow is quite large.

It’s done though. All I can do is learn from it.

I learned an awful lot about dealing with people in the future, and being fairer and clearer, and basically never ever making anyone feel like that ever again. I don’t want to ever do that to someone. I don’t want to lose friends, I don’t want to make anyone feel disrespected for the work they put in.  I know what that feels like, and it’s awful.

I’m not going to say that they were perfect, but to point out all of their mistakes when I clearly made my own is a cop out.  This job was my idea. At the end of the day, I’m responsible.

 I can be better from here and make sure I do everything in my power to make people I work with and for feel like I’ve done my best.  That’s it. 

People make all kinds of errors with each other, big and small. It happens all the time. The most innocent of ideas can be devastating.  Sometimes the best thing we can do is put ourselves in the other person’s shoes.  Show some empathy and understanding to the situation and maybe prevent some of the dangers from occurring.  Prevention in this case is better than cure.

I’ve worked with other people since, and it’s been better. I do my best to make sure that doesn’t happen again.  I’ve learned that much.

Hopefully the next time I make a mistake, I consider the impact of my intentions. People are at their best, very fragile. I need to remember that, both sides of the equation.  Hopefully if you’re reading this, make sure that the people who trust you enough to work with you are content.  Treat people as best you can, and be honest with your mistakes.

Next time, I’ll talk about the writing stuff coming up next year and betting on me.  I hope this is helpful to you who are reading it and are employing others.