The Power of Kindness Part Two: Generosity and Gratitude

During the last few weeks since I first posted my article “The Power of Kindness” I have been inundated with comments and questions about how to apply these principles to both the readers personal and professional lives. I feel compelled to continue this post and dive a bit deeper into what each of us can do to make living with kindness a part our values.

Kindness, I believe is intimately connected to gratitude and generosity. The amazing teachers, leaders, and clients I have met along my journey who emulate this way of being share some common values, but most often gratitude and generosity (be it in the form of time or currency) is something I hear them express in terms of their daily thinking and behavior.

Today, more than any time in history, we see tremendous polarity. There are a lot of angry people out there and a strong sense that “I am right and you are wrong”. Just listening to the recent political debates or really any news media, I get the sense that people would rather be right than happy. Is this powerful separation and dehumanizing each other helping to create a better world, happier work environments, and healthy families? I would say no. I feel a great sense of urgency to change the tides and begin to have a different kind of dialog.

Just imagine what might happen in your organization if once a month you had a meeting agenda that looked something like this?

  • What acts of kindness did you perform this month?
  • What are you most grateful for?
  • What acts of generosity did you share this month? Mentor someone in need; help a friend in distress, volunteer?
  • How will we deal with the rising cost of healthcare, while applying the laws of kindness, generosity and gratitude?
  • What should we do about our parking issue? (A little reality check) LOL!

If we don’t begin to change the dialog as well as the semantics, we will continue to create hostile, unhealthy work environments, burnt out CEO’s, leaders, employees, mangers, executives, support staff etc.

I personally believe the price is too high and ultimately, much of this is driven by fear. The good news is, when kindness, generosity and gratitude are present fear is greatly diminished. I know this is true not just from my own personal experience but the countless clients I have worked with over the past 17 years report the same findings as they shift away from fear, and open to the kindness, generosity and gratitude within themselves.

I’ll warn you now…you WILL be swimming against the tide. You will be challenged every day by someone less conscious of their actions and how they affect others, you will get some eye rolling, you will get some push-back. If you are willing to face those obstacles, then please read on.

Change Begins Within

The first place to begin- is with yourself. I know, wouldn’t it be grand if we could just blame others, tell them to get it together and not look at own behavior? Ahhh, denial! Unfortunately, that is not an option. We must first examine our own fears. Here are a few that often come up:

  • If I take the risk of being kind, generous and grateful I could get hurt, worse yet, I could be ostracized from the culture I work in
  • I could lose my job
  • I will not get it right all the time
  • People won’t take me seriously
  • Fill in your own fears _________________________

Often times the things we fear rarely come true. It is the ego desperately trying to hold you in place, keep you from getting hurt and not threatening your “status”or “persona”.

As Mark Twain so eloquently said, “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear-not absence of fear” and another favorite “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened” The message here is don’t let fear be the driving force behind the choices you make. It takes courage to be the beacon of light and wisdom. No change comes from complacency.

Eight Action Steps:

Kindness, generosity and gratitude are habits and just like any other habit, they need practice. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Write a list of all your fears. Really go for it! Put down on paper every reasonable and outrageous fear you have. Read each one aloud and challenge its validity. You will be shocked at some of the dark, and unrealistic fears that may be holding you back.
  2. Choose consciously to make a shift. When fear comes up replace it with an act of kindness.
  3. Every morning before you get out of bed think of 5 things or people you are grateful for. The trick here is to not repeat any of them. Pretty soon you’ll be grateful for shoelaces once you get past the obvious ones.
  4. Define generosity. What does generosity mean to you? What does it look like when you are being generous?
  5. Take action. If you like, pick one or all three (kindness, generosity or gratitude) and practice it daily. One act of kindness, generosity and gratitude.
  6. Be Bold. Make all three habits you practice all through your day.
  7. Start a movement in your organization. Circle this post and ask others if they would like to join you. Create a “Kindness Community”
  8. Post your stories. Support all those readers who found these posts intriguing and need some encouragement (FYI, this is an act of kindness and generosity).

Be Kind, be Generous, be Grateful be FREE!

 For more on this subject feel free to read my post on The Open-Hearted Warrior: Finding The True Hero Within

Amy Green, CEC, PCC-Amy has been helping clients improve the quality of their professional and personal interactions for over 17 years. Amy brings an array of diverse experiences to her practice and a compassionate understanding of the challenges currently facing our changing world. Amy brings to her coaching an ability to delve deeply beneath the surface to explore and identify meaning, challenge and life purpose for developing leaders. To contact Amy at Dynamic Potential Executive Coaching, LLC

The Art of Living in the Present Moment: Loss, Our Greatest Teacher

Attachment. The human condition of not wanting nor knowing how to let go. Everyday things change; we lose something-gain something. In our quest for success, be it material or legacy and in our relationships with colleagues, friends and life partners, as we master loss, we master life. Loss is the great wake up call to teaching us to be present.

Loss, while painful and often difficult, is one of our greatest teachers. Our minds are naturally wired to seek out certainty; to find solid ground but the truth is there is no solid ground. Life can change so quickly- one phone call, one diagnosis, one moment of true realization of the fragility and transient nature of life itself and we find ourselves in that groundless, pure state of possibility.

When we truly do let go into the “groundless nature of life”, our boundless potential is available to us. It’s ironic! As we struggle to hold on the sand slips through our fingers. When we let go,everything and anything is possible.

For me, a consummate worrier, this was the beginning of freedom and my first taste of what it means to live and work in the present moment. The more I let go, the more possibilities became available to me. Letting go and being present opened the doors to creativity and problem solving in a way I had never expected. It also opened my heart to those around me. All of us swimming in the same soup of attachment.

While you work this week and next, (and perhaps as a practice for the rest of your life) notice how you try to grasp and hold on to moments, projects, your point of view, being right, and remember how fleeting these things are. This awakening to the delicate nature of life will give you great perspective and hopefully allow you to be fully present in the moment you have right now as you are reading this post— and then, as in all writing, it will end. In life there is always an end but the beauty is in what  will the next, magnificent moment bring you?

Be Present, Be Grateful, Be Generous, Be Kind, Be FREE!

One Art By Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;

so many things seem filled with the intent

to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

 Lose something every day. Accept the fluster

of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.

The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

 Then practice losing farther, losing faster:

places, and names, and where it was you meant

to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

 I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or

next-to-last, of three loved houses went.

The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

 I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,

some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.

I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

 —Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture

I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident

the art of losing’s not too hard to master

though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.