Forgiveness isn’t usually a strategy we consider when trying to get ahead in our careers. It’s particularly difficult to practice forgiveness in our current climate, where inequalities at work continue to surface and trend. But for management consultant Christie Lindor forgiveness has in fact been the primary force propelling her forward in her career. Her newest book, a guided journal called Release: Use the Power of Forgiveness to Get Unstuck & Thrive in Your Career, is due out this month.
“I am a woman of color in a corporate environment–which some people consider an unfortunate set of circumstances,” says Christie. “Quite the contrary. Because of my ability to forgive and release, I have mastered self-accountability in my career, regardless of the perceptions, biases or microaggressive action that others around me may have attempted to project on me.”
Below, Lindor talks about using forgiveness as a tool to help ensure career success.
How did you come to the conclusion that forgiveness is so important when striving for career success?
It took many years for me to realize that I was inherently already using forgiveness. Working in the prestigious and demanding world of management consulting I spent most of my career as the only woman and/or person of color in the spaces I was in, I faced a lot of subtle (sometimes not so subtle) acts of sexism/racism, microaggressions, and biases from colleagues and leaders alike. As a first generation American and college graduate in my personal life, I had to learn through experience how to navigate career situations.
The ability to forgive and stay focused on what matters at work ultimately became a survival technique that I leaned on heavily. While I couldn’t change the circumstances and adversities I faced, I can change my response to it. Over time once I did recognize this pattern, I mastered the technique so much so that I began to leverage in creative ways that helped me create an edge over my peers.
What are the major benefits of forgiveness in the workplace?
There are both physical, mental, but also business benefits to incorporating forgiveness in the workplace. Forgiveness is not only known to reduce stress and help make an individual, it also helps rewire our thinking and ability to be more innovative.
Using forgiveness professionally helped also realize that I no longer feel the need to be perfect, have to know all of the answers, or expect perfection from those around me. I embrace living in the gray more and leaning on collaborating with my peers to help find the right answers.
Many of us have trouble forgiving others, especially when something seems personal. How can one go about learning to forgive others more easily?
Life is 10% what happened and 90% your response to it. I believe that forgiveness is a self-care technique to help you redirect energy & ultimately own the outcomes of your career rather than feeling or being a victim of it.
Can you recommend some healthy outlets for the resentment and anger that might otherwise be directed at our colleagues?
I recommend individuals take time to think about their goals and what are micro habits that they incorporate in their lives to help them achieve those goals. When a situation arises, they could lean on those micro habits to create on their own terms. For example, I enjoy writing and ideating so I use that as my own micro habit and outlet. I’ve created the habit such that I can write and create content whether I just have my phone, I’m in front of a computer, or I write using a designated notebook and pen I carry everywhere with me.
Are there any circumstances where forgiveness isn’t warranted or should we always be willing to forgive?
One of the key tenets I share in my book Release is that forgiveness doesn’t always mean everything about a particular situation was ok. Forgiving also doesn’t that there has to be someone that was completely right or wrong. Forgiveness is about being objectively introspective that helps you bring take accountability and control of what you can to create the desired outcomes.
Christie is a seasoned management consultant, trainer, coach and author with 17+ years experience advising global clients in transforming their businesses in times of disruptive change. She is being touted as a rising authoritative figure in redefining the modern day workplace. Her workplace history includes top consulting firms like IBM, Deloitte Consulting and EY; currently, she is a Solution Principal at Slalom and the founder of the Purpose Driven Consultant School, helping ambitious women, baby boomers and diverse professionals seeking to transform their expertise towards becoming credible, purpose-driven business consultants. Christie is a TEDx speaker and regular Forbes contributor who has been featured in TIME, Fast Company, Bustle, Refinery29 and dozens more. She is also the author of the award-winning, Amazon bestselling book The MECE Muse: 100+ selected practices, unwritten rules, and habits of great consultants.