The Power of Kindness: Building your Relationships Through Mindful Action Part Two: Kindness, 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 here _________________________
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:

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.
Choose consciously to make a shift. When fear comes up replace it with an act of kindness.
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.
Define generosity. What does generosity mean to you? What does it look like when you are being generous?
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.
Be Bold. Make all three, habits you practice all through your day.
Start a movement in your organization. Circle this post and ask others if they would like to join you. Create a “Kindness Community”
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 email

The Open-Hearted Warrior: Finding The True Hero Within

I woke up this morning thinking about how overwhelming the joy can be in our lives and how deep the crevasses of sorrow can run. What a strange and fascinating dichotomy? One minute we are enjoying some peak experience and in the next a call, a comment, diagnosis, shattered dream, loss of a loved one can change our internal terrain.

How then, given these experiences of mountain tops and mud, how can they teach us something new about ourselves? I see life as a warriors journey; not in the traditional sense of the warrior, but far deeper, rich with color and texture. This is The Open–Hearted warrior.

In my last post I wrote about the power of kindness. Building on that theme I would like to introduce you to the Open-Hearted Warrior. This is the loving, generous, grateful, fierce, gentle, brilliant, true self that can bring the very best of you to your life and the lives of everyone you meet. I created this archetype as a way to become the hero in your own life.

Imagine the possibilities of discovering your warriors destiny and how right now, in the career or job you are in, you have an opportunity to fulfill that destiny? Perhaps where you are right now is just another step towards that destiny, but never the less how you choose to be the hero in your own life will invariably get you there.

An Open-Hearted Warrior is best characterized as a “way of being”. What I mean by “way of being” could be described as how you embody your life and the world around you mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. We can see the embodiment of The Open-Hearted Warrior in people like Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Aung San Suu Kyi and Oskar Schindler. What these individuals all share is a divine sense that all life matters, that non-violence is the only way to true freedom and that compassion in the midst of incomprehensible suffering allows us to connect deeply with our true nature.

This way of being is achieved by the implementation of many tools but at its core is “compassionate awareness”. Compassionate awareness is our ability to be present in every moment without judging or getting hooked into the narrative of our thoughts; it is neither about ruminating over the past nor wandering into the future, an Open-Hearted Warrior is aware and attentive to the present moment, no matter what that moment brings. Life is always happening right now, not in the past or in the future. Being an Open-Hearted Warrior is also about coming home. Coming home to our most authentic, loving, and open self. How you get home is the greatest challenge you will face because many of the obstacles to coming home begin in your own mind.

Our ability to stay present in each moment is probably the greatest challenge for any Open-Hearted Warrior, and it is at the absolute core of the training. In fact, you could say that Open-Hearted Warrior is really training the mind.

The enemy we can see is far easier to disarm than those snipers that are buried deep within our consciousness. With mental conflict, it is not so easy to recognize the danger. Human beings tend to believe, without question or hesitation, the thousands of thoughts they have each day. Some are helpful and healthy while many are repetitive, negative, and counter-productive. A great part of living your professional and personal life as an Open-Hearted Warrior is learning how to understand, with great self-compassion, how your thoughts and beliefs are constantly shaping your experience.

The Great Aikido master Usehiba Morihei, described it best when he said:

“The Way of a Warrior is based on humanity, love, and sincerity; the heart of martial valor is true bravery, wisdom, love, and friendship. Emphasis on the physical aspects of warriorship is futile, for the power of the body is always limited.”

The Ordinary and Extraordinary

The OHW lives in all of us. In spite of the wonderful examples I have given, the true warriors walk among us everyday. Think of  the things you do, large and small that embody The Open-Hearted Warrior right now. Perhaps you are raising your children without a spouse or partner, caring for your aging parents, serving others with your work (that includes every service industry from CPA’s to Screenwriters), dealing with a financial or health crisis. The Open-Hearted Warrior is not reserved for some special group of human beings doing extraordinary things. The Open-Hearted Warrior is in each of us.

The Open-Hearted Warrior Within You

Take a moment to reflect on one instance in your life in which you embodied The Open-Hearted Warrior. Perhaps you were available to a friend when they needed you, helped a child who was struggling, solved a major crisis at work; it does not matter how simple the act was or how grand. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and go back to that moment. See yourself in that moment and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What emotions were necessary for you to be an Open-Hearted Warrior at that moment?
  • What character traits were needed in order for you to be a warrior in that moment? What values were expressed?
  • What did you notice externally? How did others respond?
  • Were you absorbed in thoughts about yourself or others?

While it is wonderful to have great role models like Gandhi and The Dalai Lama, the everyday moments of warrior-ship matter most. To recognize that each day holds the opportunity to live as an Open-Hearted Warrior is a gift. This way of being is not reserved for the “special” or “the gifted”. It is a part of our inherent nature.

I would invite you to think about your Open-Hearted Warrior and how you can bring that archetype to life. Here 11 steps to get you started:

 11 Steps to Awaken The Open-Hearted Warrior Within You

Below is a list of action steps you can take to begin to awaken The Open-Hearted Warrior within. Just taking a few of these steps every day will make a difference.

  1. Create a Life Mission and Vision. It could be as simple as being the most supportive parent, spouse, or friend you can be, or ending world hunger. It does not matter what it is; only that it has heart and meaning in your life. It must compel you to take action while moving you in a very deep and personal way.
  2. Realize that everyone has a history. In other words, we have all suffered, and humanizing even the people who irritate you the most allows you to maintain your humanity, forgiveness and acceptance of others.
  3. Begin a daily practice of contemplation. Turn off all devices and reflect, and feel. Use all your senses to take life in.
  4. Stop blaming, complaining, accusing, and victimizing others and yourself, and most of all stop justifying your actions when you know your actions are hurting others.
  5. Be open. Keep your mind and heart open, especially when you find yourself judging others. Passing judgment is a surefire way to cut yourself off from those around you.
  6. Make your own list of Open-Hearted Warrior characteristics and read it every day. You can use the list above and add to it or create a brand new list. Perhaps on your list, a characteristic of an Open-Hearted Warrior may be “I really hear my children and I do not trivialize their concerns”. Reading the list daily and even a few times throughout the day will help keep you on track. Most of what we do is based on habits we have developed over many years. Changing the habit of blaming others or complaining is not easy. This list can help you keep your feet on the ground and focused on what is truly important to you.
  7. Exercise your gratitude muscle. This one “muscle” can atrophy easily. Spend a few moments before you get out of bed in the morning listing what and whom you are grateful for.
  8. Pay attention to your impulse to help someone. Every day we all have thoughts to help someone in need. It could be the woman who dropped her files in the hallway, and though you are late for a meeting and you decide to stop and help her, or perhaps there is a neighbor who you may not care for but their driveway needs shoveling. I know these may be trivial, but these impulses speak to your humanity and ask it to respond to others. Open-Hearted Warriors are aware of the needs of others and not consumed with their own needs.
  9. Stay absolutely focused-not on your goals, but on the people the outcome  your goals will affect. No matter what industry you are in or what the economics are at the moment, your goals affect people. Who are they? What do they need? How can you be of service to them?
  10. Praise the good fortunes and successes of others. It is the insecure, fearful person who resents the success of others.
  11. Forgive. Without forgiveness “we drink the poison and expect the other person to die”. We suffer at the hand of our own choice when we chose to hold on to resentment, anger, feeling victimized and betrayed. Let go.

Feel free to share your experiences on this post. Open-Hearted Warriors are community minded, not lone wolves. They support and encourage.

Awaken your Open-Hearted Warrior and watch the magic happen!

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