Kindness as a Way of Life
KINDNESS IS CONTAGIOUS!
Be kind and merciful. Let no one ever come to you without coming away better and happier. ~ Mother Teresa
This thought from Mother Teresa has long been a philosophy of life for me. My desire is that no one ever leave my presence or my presentations without feeling a little better about themselves. That is a CHOICE each of us can make in every interaction we have, simply by being kind!
Let me share a simple story with you about how I apply kindness in my life:
“One snowy February day I walked into the Ladies washroom at O’Hare Airport. There was a woman there who was cleaning. She was all hunched over, glum-looking, and listlessly going through the motions of her job. I walked over, gently touched her on the arm, looked her directly in the eyes, and said, ‘Thank you so much for keeping this washroom clean. You’re really making a difference for all of us who travel.’
She stopped what she was doing, looked at me with wonder in her eyes, immediately straightened up, and began cleaning with a passion, a huge smile spreading across her face. By the time I left, she was passing out towels to all the women who were washing their hands!
I left that washroom with tears in my eyes because that interaction had cost me nothing. However, it changed her life, at least for a few moments. My appreciation of her and the value of her very important work gave her a purpose and a reason for being. SHE WAS MAKING A DIFFERENCE!”
(Reprinted with permission from “The Simple Truths of Appreciation”)
That kind act is one which any of us could repeat, and think what would happen in your home, your workplace, and your community if everyone chose to be kinder. Kindness raises morale. Wouldn’t you like to live and work in an environment where everyone was kind? It is simple!
I have been blessed to speak all over the world on Customer Service, Employee Engagement, Appreciation and Recognition, and Creating Workplaces of Joy. My focus is always on how one person can make a difference no matter what his or her station in life or job may be, and kindness is an integral part of that message.
In my presentations, I always use a model I created many years ago to help me understand the choices I have to be kind and make a difference every day. In every interaction we have, we have a CHOICE to create a minus, a zero or a plus for that other person. Each time we are kind and recognize them as a human being with value, we leave that person with a plus. Think about how I created a plus for the person in the restroom.
Can you imagine a world in which everyone is kind to everyone else? Think about the last kind thing someone did for you and then think about the last kind thing you did for someone else. What difference did that act make in each of your lives?
Let’s look at an acronym to help you remember how to be kind:
K = Kinesthetic
Touch enhances a sense of well-being. Just a simple handshake or touch of fingertips creates a connection between you and another person. So many people in our world today are desperate for the kindness of a gentle touch. In fact, research has shown that to be your healthiest, you need five hugs a day!
A friend’s husband tells about a manager he had who shook hands with each employee as they came in the door every morning. That simple act of kindness built trust, broke down barriers, and even the union members began to respect him as a kind man. After several years of working for him, when this manager thanked him for his good work, her husband came home and cried because it meant so much to him
Become aware, too, of your tone of voice, body language and facial expressions. Do you LOOK like a kind person? Remember that your words can make a huge difference. Mother Teresa says, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
I = Imaginative
Use your creativity to come up with ideas to be kinder to people. They will be surprised and you will have fun. Natalie Peace of Booster Juice Company started a “22 Days of Kiindness” program at three of the businesses she owned. She paid all 50 staff members to do shifts where their only duty was to perform creative acts of kindness : giving flowers to strangers, washing windows for neighboring businesses, and generally going out of their way to brighten someone’s day. She also ran a radio campaign to challenge others in the community. They even asked their customers to take a pledge to commit an act of kindness for the next 22 days.
She says, “There were so many wins from this creative initiative : free advertising for my businesses, more customers, increased loyalty among existing customers, and my staff became even more engaged and motivated. Did this make my businesses more profitable? You bet! But the truth is, I measure success on multiple bottom lines, including impact on my team and my community.”
N = Neighborly
Do you remember “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood”? He was one of the kindest men ever, and also think of State Farm Insurance’s motto: “Like a good neighbor, Sate Farm is there.” Even the Bible says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you think about someone who was a good neighbor, it was probably because they were kind and you could count on them. Look around your home, your workplace, and your community to find ways to be a better neighbor to those with whom you live and work.
D = Deliberate
Be purposeful and deliberate in planning ways to be kind. You need to have a strategy. One of the ways I encourage my audience members to be kinder is the following: In the morning put five pennies in your right hand pocket, and every time you do something kind for someone, move one penny to the other pocket, Don’t go home that night until all five pennies are in the other pocket. This is also a great strategy to use with your team or your family. At dinner or some chosen time during the day, each person share what they did to show kindness to others.
Finally, kindness IS contagious. By becoming aware of how you use your body, getting your creative juices going, thinking like a good neighbor, and planning a strategy to be kinder, you will spread that spirit throughout your workplace and your community, leading to business success and a far more caring world.
“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness.”
BARBARA GLANZ BIOGRAPHY
A member of the prestigious Speaker Hall of Fame and one of fewer than 700 Certified Speaking Professionals worldwide, Barbara Glanz, CSP, CPAE, works with organizations to improve morale, retention and service and with people who want to rediscover the joy in their work and in their lives. She is the first speaker on record to have spoken on all 7 continents and in all 50 states. Known as “the business speaker who speaks to your heart as well as to your head,” Barbara is the author of twelve books including The Simple Truths of Service Inspired by Johnny the Bagger®, CARE Packages for the Workplace, and 180 Ways to Spread Contagious Enthusiasm™. Voted “best keynote presenter you have heard or used” by Meetings & Conventions Magazine, Barbara uses her Master’s degree in Adult Learning to design programs that cause behavior change. She lives and breathes her personal motto: “Spreading Contagious Enthusiasm™” and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and www.barbaraglanz.com.