Here’s a moving and direct example of a kind business focusing on kind results that inspire kind responses from customers, from my friends at Story2. Kindness is not merely an abstract, feel-good force in business. It creates positive impacts on customers’ lives, which feed into the financial and emotional bottom line of the businesses that focus on it.
Story2 teaches prospective college students to tell a story, connect with readers’ emotions and experience, and inspire lasting impressions. They work with students to apply these skills in the college admissions process. They have worked with over 15,000 students to help them get in and get money at selective colleges. Its innovative approach to storytelling and community goes well beyond the college admissions process, and anyone can access the community to hear and tell stories of their own.
I can’t think of a better example of a kind mission than one that helps young people pursue and realize their dreams and future opportunities. How many of these story tellers will go on in life to use their skills to communicate and connect in the interest of a better, kinder world?
I’ve also known Story2 CEO and Founder Carol Barash for years. I’ve seen few people in my business life who are more committed to creative positive impacts and running businesses that deliver both kindness and growth. You can find out more about Carol by following her on Twitter at @CarolBarash.
Self-kindness, or self-compassion, is one of the seven dimensions of kindness.
- Self-kindness unlocks our ability to be better and do better.
- Being kind to ourselves should not be equated to being self-indulgent, any more than being kind to others should be equated to being weak.
- It is more productive to acknowledge and accept our difficulties and imperfections than to deny and fight them.
- We make better progress overcoming the obstacles that challenge us when we forgive ourselves for our own mistakes or for our circumstances.
- Letting ourselves off the hook defuses the anticipation of fear, worry, and regret that holds us back from taking action.
- We break the cycle of harmful, futile, judgmental thinking by dwelling mindfully in our own humanity, a humanity we share with others.
- By holding ourselves to realistic and humane standards, we open ourselves to greater kindness in the world around us.
- We can honor ourselves as people whose actions can improve individual lives and the world around us.
- Strength and patience that start from within have greater impact than superficial empathy.
- Current psychology research shows greater linkages of self-compassion to positive mental health outcomes than those from self-esteem.
Praise for the benefits of gratitude has become ubiquitous in the worlds of positive psychology and new-age spirituality. Time and again, writers encourage us to make gratitude lists or keep gratitude journals on a regular, even daily basis. While it sounds ungrateful to buck against gratitude, I still find myself pausing over the implications, and wondering how we can do better and be kinder than mere gratitude.
At the root of the issue, gratitude troubles me, because when we are grateful, we think of ourselves as the recipient of some goodness that comes to us either from the amorphous forces of “the Universe” or from the direct agency of specific people in our lives. Gratitude practices, by definition, leave us thinking in self-centered ways. They put us at risk of becoming “gratitude narcissists” if we don’t at the same time couple them with kindness practices.
So, rather than just taking inventory of what we are grateful for, let’s also take inventory of what we have done to improve other lives and the world around us. On the model of gratitude journals, let’s take on a daily practice of listing three things we did each day to make the world a better place. We can start a kindness journal to take stock of our daily gestures of empathy and compassion, small-scale and large-scale. We can list the kind things we do, and the kind impacts we intended with those actions.
Just as gratitude practices can make us more mindful of good things that come from the world, kindness practices can make us more accountable for the good things we can do in the world. They help us gently shift our mindset from being the center of a universe to being an agent of kindness who participates in that universe with deliberate responsibility to other beings. And by linking our actions to their outcomes, these practices also make us more effective as agents of kind outcomes.
If you’re willing to exercise your own kindness practice with mindful intent, too, feel free to download this Kindness Communication journal template, or create your own.
I’m so thrilled to see my thinking on kindness in the workplace featured today on Shola Richards’s The Positivity Solution. Shola’s a real leader in fostering positive outlooks and positive actions for better outcomes.
“Let’s take workplace engagement into our own hands by being intentionally kind to our colleagues at every point of contact. Because it’s hard to care about your job when you don’t care for each other.”
See more at: http://thepositivitysolution.com/kindness-keeps-you-sane/#sthash.kENyZakv.8nbFb6OW.dpuf