Where in your life are you missing an opportunity to practice being kind?
I know that it sounds like a general question but really think about the people that you interact with on a daily and weekly basis. Do you really know who they are or are they just that familiar face you always say hello to, comment about the weather with, and with whom you make a transaction.
Several years ago I discovered that in my case the latter was true. There were people in my community that I interacted with on a regular basis who I did not really know.
There was the woman who worked at our local dry cleaner. I would see her once a week and I was always nice to her but I every time I saw her it was more of a transaction than a connection. It wasn’t until a year ago that I actually took the time to even find out what her name was: Donna. From that point on I started to make a conscious effort that when I said hello to Donna and asked how are you? I really meant it and listened to her response. I still see Donna about once a week and I no longer see her as just ‘the nice person’ that I drop my clothes off to at the dry cleaner. Rather, she is a person in my community that I have a meaningful connection with.
Another example of this is the post office that I always go to in the little town of Newfields, NH. The post master there is Carol and just by taking the time to be kind to her she has become an important person in my community. I call her “Cool Car Carol” because she drives a silver mustang convertible that is always parked in the same spot and is super clean. When I see Carol I genuinely ask her how she is doing and what she has been up to. Throughout the year, especially during the holidays, I ship a large number of packages. Carol always goes the extra mile to make it an easy experience and that everything is done right.
In my keynote speeches and leadership trainings I talk about how every day we have the power to reach out and make a difference. It could be through a smile, a simple hello or a random act of kindness. I think that often times we forget that making a difference is really about recognizing that we have an opportunity to create extraordinary relationships and meaningful connections all around us whether it’s with our bank teller, dry cleaner, postal worker, or the stranger we just met. It simply starts with being kind.