The Practice Of Kindness

“Pay it forward” has been a popular term for many years. For me, this term applies in two situations: 1) When we are at a time when things are going fairly well in both our professional and personal lives, and 2) When we need to be grateful for all that we have.

We have the opportunity to share our good fortunes of knowledge and connections and be kind to others who may be having some hard times. Each of us can always strive to be more compassionate to others whenever possible. Perhaps it’s because I find myself a bit older than most, I notice situations.  I notice that people do not always take the time to help others. I’m aware of a number of our members who are struggling as our industry continues to bounce back from a difficult economy. Be kind is an easy mindset that we can adopt as we begin each day.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always found the highlight of my day to be when I’ve done something — even a small gesture — that has helped another person. It doesn’t need to be a large support.  It could be a professional introduction, an endorsement on LinkedIn, or even treating a colleague to a beverage at Starbucks. It’s those little things that really matter to each of us.  Returning a telephone call, taking a few moments to review the resume of a jobseeker, or taking the time to actually complete a post-meeting survey and mention by name the staff members and volunteers who did exceptional work – these are some easy ways to practice kindness.

I’ve always found the highlight of my day to be when I’ve done something — even a small gesture — that has helped another person.

People are largely proud and private. Sometimes when someone is struggling with personal or professional challenges, it may not be quickly evident. For this reason I think it’s a good thing for each of us to develop our sensitivity skills.  What does this mean? It’s really quite simple.

  • We need to look at the people in our lives.  When we look, we need to see them.  Look into their eyes. Be aware of how they are doing. Step out of the “me, me and me” moment and step into the “you, you and you” awareness.
  • We need to listen not just with our ears but from our hearts. While we are certainly busy professionals, among those that we share a workplace with are those experiencing hardship in their lives.  It’s alright to ask someone how their day is going. Listen for their response. There is nothing more important in your day than that very conversation that you are having right now. Don’t rush it.  Just let the conversation flow.
  • We need to touch. It’s alright to shake with a warm hand embrace. If someone wishes to give you an appropriate hug, let them do so. When you are in a moment where you sense that the other person could use a warm and sincere touch, always ask first. “May I give you a hug?” “May I place my hand on your shoulder?” It’s OK.

Sadness is not mental illness. People experience difficult times that have nothing at all to do with their mental state of mind. What are some challenging things that come up in our lives?  They can include:

  • Career concerns and roadblocks
  • Challenges with children and relatives
  • Family illnesses and passings
  • Fear of our global situations
  • Financial hardship
  • Workplace stress

If you’d like to make a difference with a Be Kind mindset, here are 10 simple ideas to make our collective world a better place:

  1. Call that MPISCC member who is not working right now and invite them as your paid guest to a chapter meeting. Host their parking, too.
  2. Compliment a fellow team member at a department meeting. Share praise and celebrate outstanding work. Make their day and let that person bask in a positive spotlight through your kind words.
  3. Do not take sole credit for anything. Not one of us does what we do on our own. Everything we touch is in the theme of collaboration. Share praise and recognize the people behind the scenes who make us look good. We need to drop the me, me and me approach and always make it be about our team.
  4. If you receive a prize or small gift, consider who would truly benefit from that prize. Do you really need that $25.00 Starbucks gift card? This would be the perfect opportunity to write a little note and share it with someone who could use it.  Send that note and make that person’s day!
  5. Invite a colleague or contact to coffee or lunch twice a month.  Be gracious, with no agenda at all other than to be compassionate to someone you know who is in career transition.
  6. Make eye contact. It really is simple to do.  Say good morning and wish that person a good day.  There is most certainly someone in your organization that you can reach out to for a simple visit or afternoon coffee break.
  7. Send a hand-written thank you note to those who are kind to you.
  8. Share your resources.  Meeting and event professionals know many people. We need to get out of the “I don’t know how to help anyone” and into the “I’m going to figure out how to help others mind set”.
  9. Think about the people who you know who may be in career transition. Send each of them a hello note.  Check in and just let them know you are thinking of them. Is there anything at all that you can do to assist with their searches? Offer your support and let them know that you are there for them.
  10. While hosting a pre-con or planning meeting with your event partners – thank the partners and let them know that you could not be a success without their many contributions.

Be kind. I assure you that your gift will not be forgotten. You can help those wonderful people turn their lives around. Things will be eventually better for them. They will in turn be kind to others as you were to them.

Have a good day.