I noticed today that I launched my blog and supporting social media a full two years ago. To everyone who has supported this venture in any way, I feel enormously grateful. Your comments, your shares, and even your simple, precious gifts of time and attention mean so much to me.
As I sit here on a cool Los Angeles spring evening, watching the sunset, I want to acknowledge how much you’ve all helped me on this two-year journey of kindness advocacy and practice. And I’d like to reflect briefly on what I have learned so far.
Kindness Communication began in order to focus upon the idea that there is a missing piece, a missing heart in how we talk about the way we treat each other at work. When I launched the blog, I described that missing heart as kindness. As much as I have learned since launching, the principle has not changed:
“Kindness Communication wants to bring kindness back to the heart of how we speak with each other, and how we speak about improving the workplace.”
Along the way, I have learned that people will help you more than you may realize, if you approach them with authenticity and openness. Other practitioners and bloggers have offered me guest posting slots in their efforts. Journalists have sought out my perspectives and quoted them generously. People have agreed to take time and let me interview them. Especially in an area such as kindness that depends on mutual support and positive interaction, this help has reinforced my belief that like begets like, and that kindness triggers unexpected loops of positive outcomes.
I have also learned just how much work we kindness advocates and practitioners must do to achieve the goal of better workplaces. A Kindness Communication workplace kindness audit showed a rather dismal picture: on a 100 point scale of kindness, the average among respondents was only 66. Beyond those numbers, I have spoken with many people about the impacts of disregard, territoriality, conflict-seeking, and selfishness. These traits and behaviors pop up again and again at every level of a workplace, from company cultures down to individual dynamics. They indicate much work to be done.
In addition, of course, the world overall looks a lot different in 2016 than it did in 2015. When measured against values of kindness and pluralism and tolerance, it looks a lot darker. The need for kindness advocacy has only grown since I started, but the luxury of waiting to get traction is no more. This realization prompted me to shift focus beyond business, to promote kindness in all domains by all means available, and to make it accessible to all by keeping it as simple as possible. I continue to view the purpose of Kindness Communication this way today.
Finally, however, despite endemic kindness deficits and dark times, I still do hope. I believe in the light that I see when I speak to others about their kindness practices, the warmth that I feel from all of the positive interactions that have gathered around this work. Even with no certain future for the NEXT two years, we can still tap into that hope as a source of steadying joy and open calm.
No matter what, we can still do right by each other.