12 Rules of Kindness – Rule 3 – One Kind Thing

Rule 3: Do at least one kind thing for yourself or someone else each day

Here is a great statement I came across regarding kindness. It is “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.” I am concerned however about how we are leading today. I am seeing a lack of kindness around the world. We need to change this. We can change this. Leading with kindness (and courage) matter today more than ever before.

I have had discussions with my daughter about setting intentions and telling the universe what I want: I find this fascinating! Thing is, regardless of whether it is a powerful Astrological day or not, every day is a powerful day and guess who holds the power. You to set kindness intentions.

As you know I am pretty obsessed with neuroscience and I always say WHERE attention goes, energy flows. And, where ‘intention’ goes; energy and ‘courage’ goes. Like many of us, we have had many ups and downs in life, however I knew I had to set my intentions of being courageous and kind as this is what I stand for and the impact I want to make.

Remember, you are the director of your mind and thoughts and I want everyone to have powerful and courageous thoughts. If you have disempowering and fearful thoughts, and you focus on these on your stage then you will have a pretty bad play showing to the world. The mind is a powerful thing and the more you focus on something, the more you will see the data and evidence. It’s like when you decide to buy a car and you see the car everywhere on the road. The Reticular Activating System is a bundle of nerves at our brainstem that filters out unnecessary information so the important stuff gets through. Set your focus and intention to courage and being the best version of you.

Underpinning all the above is KINDNESS. Remember to be kind to yourself and others. There might be days or times you don’t get what you want (I had plenty of them this year) or you are not being the best version of yourself (we all have days like this) – however be kind, compassionate and gentle to yourself. Plus only focus on what makes you rock, who you are and what you want. Yes leadership is about others and how we can be kind and help others. However don’t compare yourself and your inner courage and successes with others and establish a courageous mindset as outlined in my book First Comes Courage. A courageous mindset is a way of thinking and driving behaviours that allows a willingness to adapt to changes.

Harvard Business School’s Amy Cuddy, along with her research partners, have demonstrated that even before establishing their own credibility or competence, leaders who project warmth are more effective than people who lead with toughness. Basically, kindness and warmth appears to accelerate trust.

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation (RAKF) emphasises about being intentional in not only noticing and absorbing kindness moments when they happen to us, but creating those moments for others? What if we made it a point to go slightly outside of our comfort zone at least once a day to make someone smile? To share a compliment with a co-worker or friend? To reach out to a family member we haven’t spoken to in a while? What if we stopped thinking about them as random acts of kindness and started thinking about them as intentional acts of kindness?

The RAKF emphasises that there are things we do every single day with intention, yet we don’t even think about them. We wake up, take a shower, brush our teeth, get dressed, drive to work or school… all part of our invisible routine. What if we added a moment of kindness to our invisible routine? What if we woke up and as we turn the alarm off, we immediately send an uplifting text message to a friend? Or during the morning commute, what if we let that guy merge into traffic with a wave and a smile instead of feeling upset or slighted?

As we celebrate World Kindness Day, the RAKF invites you to look for ways to make kindness the norm in your daily life. World Kindness Day is a great day to begin building a new routine which means including intentional moments of kindness, laughter and delight. It also means taking a moment to enjoy and recognize when those things are happening. Kindness starts with one. One smile. One compliment. One cup of coffee. One conversation. Let’s lift the fog and make kindness the norm. 

Stefanie Marrone in Linkedin empathises the importance of being kind to others as so many of us are carrying around heavy personal baggage on a daily basis that impacts us. In fact, it’s a miracle on some days that we can even function being saddled with this much baggage. It doesn’t matter how successful or old one is, everyone deals with personal and professional issues that affect our moods and impact our interactions with others. Stephanie reminds us that while we don’t have control over what others do, we do have control over our own actions, how we deal with the cards we’ve been dealt and how we interact with others.

A Daily Telegraph article by Lisa Mayoh highlights that “Love and kindness are more contagious than coronavirus.” Despite social isolation and worrying financial uncertainty, Australians are making a world of difference with simple acts of kindness. At a time when uncertainty and chaos are powering greed and selfishness, another human quality, a generous spirit, has emerged from— that of kindness. A kindness both considered, and as random as a smile for a stranger. While some think only of themselves, many are coming together, revealing the country’s long treasured values of mateship, compassion and generosity still flourish in tough times. It can be as simple as smiling at a stranger.

The impact on kind and courageous leadership does not only make a difference at work but in every aspect of our lives. We need our children to see that as fast as the world is changing and as scary it seems, that we are all human and there is hope. It takes kindness, leadership and courage.

Wouldn’t we want them to embrace that and show this in their everyday actions and words? Wouldn’t we want our people within our teams and organisations to embrace Leadership where they see this word about how they can make a difference and impact?

Remember we can be strong as leaders and show kindness. We can be courageous as leaders and show fear. We can all be leaders without the title or role. It’s an attitude, choice and action.

It only takes one act of intentional kindness and courage to make a difference and you can do this through your courage pledge as shown in my book First Comes Courage. We must commit ourselves through a pledge to start a lasting change in our world, in our teams. Be courageous in the face of adversity. Use kindness and strength at every point possible. Lead with purpose and with resilience. Deliver impacts that positively change the world around us. Set the example for people to follow. Embark on this journey with me now. This is your courageous pledge.

Let’s start a movement and see where the Kind, Courageous and Leadership ripple effect takes us and here are some suggestions:

  • Have The Courage To Be Kind To Yourself
  • Treat Others The Way You Want To Be Treated
  • Manners Cost Nothing But Mean Everything
  • Encourage Others To Succeed
  • Celebrate Wins, Even If They Aren’t Your Own
  • Remember That Even The Smallest Act Can Make A Big Difference
  • Always Be Respectful

What can you do to start this movement?

Author – Sonia McDonald

Sonia McDonald is changing the face of leadership across the globe. She believes we should lead with kindness and courage, from the heart, and is known for her mantra ‘Just Lead’. She leads by example in all these areas and through her transformational coaching, leadership training programs and cultural transformation for organisations and encourages others to do the same. Sonia has helped thousands of people on their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire and bring out the best in others.

Sonia is a founder and CEO of McDonald Inc., LeadershipHQ and Global Outstanding Leadership Awards and the newly launched Courage Conference. For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of leadership and she is beyond committed to her mission around building a world of great leaders.

She has held leadership positions worldwide and through experience, research and study come to realise what it takes to be a truly great leader. She has been recognised by Richtopia as One of the Top 250 Influential Women across the Globe and Top 100 Australian Entrepreneurs.

Sonia has an ability to speak bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, personal and career challenges in a way which resonates with her audience. She is a leading coach, an award-winning published author of newly released First Comes Courage, Leadership Attitude and Just Rock It! and has become an in-demand keynote speaker on leadership, kindness and courage.

Sonia has become recognised for her commentary around the topic of leadership, kindness, empathy and courage as well as building outstanding leadership across the Globe.