“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”Mark Twain
When you help others, you are demonstrating the kind of person you are, and you are creating the kind of world in which you want to live.
The more we help and give to others, the happier we become and the happier we become, the more inclined we are to help.
Many people and leaders associate being kind in business as a sign of weakness. Quite the contrary, kindness – a mindset of helping others – is a powerful driver in fostering organizational and individual success, as well as customer and employee engagement.
The power of kindness on our own well-being
Kindness, like happiness and positive energy, is contagious. It is one of the best ways to connect with other people and to lift our own spirits.
When we care for other people’s fulfilment, our mindset widens and our own problems become less significant, which increases our inner peace and happiness.
When we forget about ourselves and our problems, and are genuinely interested in other people and helping them, with an authentic interest in their well-being, our own well-being increaseased, our anxiety and fear lessen and we gain a better perspective on life.
The power of kindness in leadership
Give And Take: Why helping others drive our success by Adam Grant highlights the real power that lies in being a giver. Those who succeed (personally and professionally) don’t take or match. They give the unexpected and add value and joy to everyone around them – thus attracting more success.
The book is full of stories of successful givers.
“This is what I find most magnetic about successful givers: they get to the top without cutting others down, finding ways of expanding the pie that benefit themselves and the people around them. Whereas success is zero-sum in a group of takers, in groups of givers, it may be true that the whole is greater than the sum of the part. […] “The more I help out, the more successful I become. But I measure success in what it has done for the people around me. That is the real accolade.“Adam Grant
Here are a few ways to get started. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list – if you set your mind to it intentionally, you can come up with many other possibilities.
7 days kindness ritual to elevate your well-being and success through the power of kindness and gratitude
Starting today and over the next 7 days, pick the one random act of kindness per day to brighten someone’s day, beyond what you normally do. If needed, refer to the below list of suggestions for uplifting ways to give. You can do one extra act of kindness per day, or you can do a few acts of kindness in a single day.
- These do not have to be big or time-intensive acts – only something that helps or impacts another person.
- At the end of each day, list your random act of kindness (e.g. in a notebook, on your phone, a daily planner or online calendar, or whatever method works for you).
- At the end of the week, examine the emotions you felt and how the person reacted. Savor this and allow this experience to materialize inside you. As you see the other person and experience your own feelings, think of other ways and future opportunities you can continue to give help to others. Repeat!
Suggestions of uplifting ways to give and help
Anytime you interact with another person, remember these three words first: help this person. Be as persistent at helping others as you are at getting what you want.
Create something that helps people (e.g. song, cooking, book, blog, a support group, a non-profit, a book club or podcast club or mastermind).
Regularly send a thoughtful “something” however big or small for no reasons or when you feel it would interest someone else or when someone is going through a hard time (e.g. hand-written or if easier electronic card, thank you or congratulations note, chocolates, flowers, electronic gift card, articles you think they might enjoy, a book or your favorite podcasts / YouTube channels / Spotify playlists recommendations).
Build bridges and connections between people where you think it could help them.
Remember important dates for others (e.g. their birthdays or those of their children’s, wedding or work anniversaries).
Bring people together whether in person or virtually (e.g. keep up a group chat with your friends who are spread across the world, have a standing online or in-person date to get together with friends and family, masterminds). For virtual gathering use your preferred tool (e.g. virtually, use apps like Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, House Party) and likewise to coordinate scheduling among several people.
Perform small acts of kindness. Too often we underestimate the power of a kind word, a true listening ear, a silent smile, a silent blessing, a touch, a compliment.
Give advice and strategies on problems / challenges others face where relevant, but always ask for permission first and practice until it becomes effortless. Be unconditionally positive and constructive in everything you say, even when having a difficult conversation (e.g. “I have a suggestion I think might work, would you be interested in hearing it? Would you like to hear how I handled a similar situation? Could I give you some advice?”).
Give compliments but convert them into acknowledgments: People will want to be around you if you are in the habit of giving acknowledgements and you will be energized as it feels good to give them. People get compliments quite often (e.g. what they wear, how they look etc.). Acknowledgments are even more powerful, as they are about who the person is and leave them feeling great about themselves (e.g. “I really appreciate your support / your guidance / your work”, “your presence lights up the whole room, you are a great speaker”, “what an incredible attention to detail you put in this incredible piece of work / art / dish you cooked”).
Give a hug to someone in need of affection, love and consolation.
Every time you interact with another person, make a conscious decision about the energy you wish to bring (i.e. positive, uplifting, supportive…).
Give other people clues that you are really listening: nod, ask questions, repeat what they said, make them feel seen and understood, be fully present (i.e. do not multitask), listen with the willingness to learn.
If you know a friend or business partner is under pressure, provide something that will support or help them.
Express your gratitude. Gratitude has profound effects on the happiness of both the giver and the receiver. Do not wait to show appreciation in others and never miss an opportunity to say thank you.Send 5 thanks a week. One of the most effective ways to build powerful relationships (e.g. partner, family member, dear friend, business contact, client, mentor, manager, colleague, employees) is to thank people for all they do for you, and acknowledge them. Make it one of your weekly rituals for 15 minutes a day, to send at least 5 thank you notes a week. Ideally, hand-write it (e.g. beautiful postcards, card with inspiring quotes, photography) as it is more personal and will be more remembered and appreciated (particularly in this modern time!).
- A great leadership example of creating a company-wide culture of gratitude: When Doug Conant took the reins at Campbell Soup in 2001, the stock price was falling and it was the worst performer of all the major food companies in the world – and employee engagement was extremely low. By 2009, the company was ahead of the S&P Food Group and the S&P 500. Over the course of his 10-year career leading the soup giant, Doug Conant wrote at least 30,000 thank-you notes to employees and clients. In a 2011 Harvard Business Review article, Doug Conant explained that he sent handwritten notes because more than half of Campbell Soup associates didn’t use a computer.
“Have you ever noticed how a pat on the back makes you feel great for days? If the praise comes in handwritten or email form, maybe you frame the note and put it on your wall so it can lift you up on a tough day or help you feel more engaged at work. Sadly, kudos from bosses are all too rare. Believe me, I know.”Doug Conant