I’m sure over the years you have seen those many social media posts that say something like “you can choose to be anything, but choose to be kind”. Well even though the words might sound somewhat sugary sweet they never fail to make an impact on me.
What has kindness got to do with business you may be asking? Well for me it has everything to do with it. I can think of so many examples over the years when offering another person a simple act of kindness makes all the difference between a good day and an unbearable one. Sounds dramatic right? Yet I’m sure we can all think of examples of when you may have been on the receiving end of a kindness.
Let me share a personal example with you. When my dad was taken ill a few years ago and we knew that he would have a few short months to live, it was such a tough time. I am the eldest daughter of three girls. It has always been my role to step up and lead the way through whatever issue life delivers us as a family. This time was no different. I thought I was coping well, the company I was leading had been through a lot of change as the industry was going through turbulent times. I was there for the business, there for my dad and there for my family.
One early morning in the office, one of the team came in and came straight over to where I was sitting, handed me a coffee he had bought for me on the way in and just asked me the simple question “How are you doing?” I gave my stock answer, told him about the family, told him about what I was working on and how I thought people were doing, I said I was good thanks. He sat quietly with me until I stopped talking and said “That’s how everyone else is doing, but how about you, it must be tough, are you doing ok?” Honestly, that kindness of a coffee brought just for me, the time he gave me just listening and genuinely caring meant everything. It did make the difference to me between a good day and a really tough one.
Why am I sharing this now? Well, I am always aware and conscious of the fact that we can never really know how each of us are doing? Behind that quick smile and standard response of ‘I’m fine thanks, you?’ may be somebody struggling. I am also more than aware that even the people we think are winning at life, seem confident and on top of everything they do could well be feeling vulnerable, scared even.
Reaching out to each other and really listening and supporting by simple acts of kindness, not assuming we understand each other and what we may be going through, can really make a difference in how we ‘show up’ in business and in life as a whole. I have been talking about our tribe in recent blogs and Mel, our Chief People Officer, has been sharing with us how we can access support for ourselves, and each other, to help us with our wellbeing. A shared purpose and a sense of belonging that comes from knowing that those around you really care about you and are key ingredients to living a happy and fulfilled life, both inside and outside work .
So, in a world where we can choose to be anything, let’s choose to be kind to each other and our wider communities in which we live and work. It's remarkable just what good things can happen when we are.
As the weekend comes up, have a peaceful and happy time with your friends, family and loved ones and keep safe and well.