Practice Intentional Acts of Kindness
You’re stressed beyond measure at work – toiling away on the umpteenth Zoom meeting; racing the clock to get a grant proposal in; or working overtime to iron out a distribution snafu. Then a colleague sets aside their own project to pitch in on yours, or a friend, who’s been through something similar, picks up the phone to share advice…and everything changes for the better. A kindness has been paid, and it can turn things from chaos to calm…from anxiety to reassurance…from “Everything’s going all wrong” to “Everything’s going to be all right.”
These days we need kindness in the world more than ever – especially when it comes to our working lives. While it may be a natural inclination to share kindnesses with others, it can also be helpful to be reminded that even simple gestures go a long way in making a difference. Here are three ideas for spreading kindness throughout your professional world:
- Show Interest – One of the greatest gifts you can give is your attention. Taking time to check-in with work associates – just asking how they’re doing and listening – is a wonderful way to share a kindness. I have a long-distance colleague who does ‘well-being’ check-ins. She’ll send me gentle texts asking if I’ve taken the time to take a deep breath, share a laugh, or step away from my desk. She regularly reminds me that self-care is important, and I’m so grateful. I’m touched that she takes time out of her day to show such compassion. Now that we are working remotely, I am trying to check in with colleagues to see how they are and catch up – with no business agenda.
- Connect, Connect, Connect – Offering those in your circle the opportunity to make new professional connections is a tremendous kindness you can share. Introducing associates to someone new in your network through live events, or via LinkedIn or email introduction, can be instrumental in helping them move forward on their professional paths. I wouldn’t be where I am in my career today without the connections and resources offered to me along the way, and it’s gratifying, to say the least, to help others in the same way. If there’s a job posting, podcast, book or article I think would benefit a colleague, I love passing it along.
- Express Gratitude – I recently received a note from a colleague simply expressing her appreciation for our work together. The note was hand-written, from the heart, and it touched me deeply. Saying ‘Thank you’ is so easy to do, and it has the power to absolutely make a person’s day.
Kindness has the power to change the dynamic of a situation – to shift negative energy to positive – and it all starts by doing for yourself what you would do for others. I encourage you to practice ‘self-kindness’, and then spread the gift to others in your professional sphere. If love is what makes the world go ‘round, then kindness is the propellant!