A new phenomenon has popped up in the last of couple years where more and more people are subscribing to the concept of “Paying it Forward.”
Have you heard the news stories about those massive tips in restaurants, or drive-thru lines where dozens of people decide to pay for the person behind them, effectively creating one long string of generosity?
The most famous of these examples was a 2014 incident in which roughly 400 people “payed it forward” at a Starbucks Drive-thru in an act of generosity that lasted a whopping 11 hours! The feat made headlines all over the world, and inspired copycats all across the county, to the delight of unsuspecting fast food customers.
Kindness is making a much-needed comeback! It’s a great time to join the ranks of trend-setters who are discovering that the old-fashioned art of being kind can actually be beneficial in more ways than one.
Research has proven over and over that people who volunteer their time to causes they care about tend to live longer. Why? Because volunteering increases social interaction with others, which reduces depression risks for one. Volunteering also gets you physically and mentally active, which naturally improves your health.
When you’re kind and willing to help others, they naturally want to repay you. So when a time arises that you might need some help — whether it’s help with some household project, running an errand when you’re too busy or ill, or simply picking up your newspaper while you’re away — you’ll have people willing to help.
Knowing others appreciate and think favorably of you is a natural self-esteem boost! A fast path to leadership is to demonstrate to others they can rely on you and trust you to do the right thing.
How? I could write a book on this but in a nutshell, being kind to your colleagues, especially subordinates, builds relationships with them. Your teammates will feel more engaged and motivated to work with you to achieve more results.
When a promotion opens up, your superiors are going to naturally look at people — like you — who have already demonstrated they can work well with others and improve productivity.
Do you avoid being kind to competitors, subordinates and others because you think you’ll be perceived as weak? That others will take advantage of you?
This couldn’t be further from the truth if you do it correctly. The trick is to be “gentle as doves, yet simultaneously shrewd as serpents” — pay attention to who is genuinely appreciating your kindness — and who is taking advantage and asking for more.
This doesn’t mean you should only “give” if you think you’ll “get” something in return. In fact, the opposite is true — if you give without any expectation, that is true kindness.
What it does mean is that it’s perfectly fine to decline a request that makes you uncomfortable. Saying no sets limits so others know your boundaries and earns their respect.
You already know that your next big opportunity or beneficial connection could come from someplace you least expect, so don’t limit your kindness to just your inner circle.
You have to invest time and energy into your personal and professional relationships if you want to succeed – no one, and I mean no one, succeeds completely on their own. You can read more about how relationships are currency in a previous post, How to Be the Player Everyone Wants to Sign
Beyond buying the person in line behind you their meal or coffee, you can perform other simple acts of kindness.
I guarantee you, if you start incorporating kindness toward others into your daily regime, you will reap far more than you sow. You’ll be well on your way to becoming the winner you were meant to be! So why not start right now – call, email, text or write a note to someone, letting them know you value them!
“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
How has kindness benefited you? Let us know in the comments field!