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A Surprise from The Netherlands!

Look! Something super exciting! Maryse Meinen was inspired to create her very own Kindness Poster based on something I shared! At The Love and Kindness Project Foundation, a big part of our mission is to encourage and inspire others to create their own kindness projects, and that is exactly what Maryse did! A kindness project doesn’t have to be big and fancy! Handwritten and homemade are perfect! Thank you so much Maryse for creating a kinder world!
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Geïnspireerd door een prachtige post vorige week van Karyn Ross – drijvende kracht achter het super initiatief van the loving kindness project – maakte ik net dit “postertje’. Buiten regent het pijpenstelen (dat doet iets met mij) en hoe goed sommigen van ons zich ook kunnen aanpassen aan de omstandigheden, de situatie om ons heen is best uitdagend. En dat blijft’ie voorlopig ook. Dus hier een paar tips voor barre tijden. Doe er je voordeel mee – als niet voor jouzelf, dan wellicht voor iemand in je omgeving.

En wees een beetje aardig. Voor jezelf, voor anderen om ons heen, voor de wereld. Just be kind, dont be a jerk. De wereld heeft behoefte aan meer compassie, niet aan nog meer meningen en vuisten op tafel…

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Inspired by a wonderful post last week of Karyn Ross – driving the super initiative of the loving kindness project – I just made this ‘poster’. Outside it rains pipe stealing (that does something to me) and however well some of us can adapt to the conditions, the situation around us is quite challenging. And he’s going to be. So here are a few tips for tough times. Take advantage of it – if not for yourself, then perhaps for someone around you.

And be a little nice. For yourself, for others around us, for the world. Just be kind, dont be a jerk. The world needs more compassion, not more opinions and fists on the table…

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The Kind Leader Newsletter #7

Welcome to The Kind Leader Newsletter #7!

Tip #7: Ask about others!

Leaders, I have a challenge for you! Please take out a piece of paper, and for each one of your team members, write down one thing that they are passionate about outside of work, and one thing each of them is struggling with. If you find that you don’t know, don’t be surprised. Often, leaders focus solely on business in conversations and meetings and forget to actually get to know the people who work for them as … well … people! There’s an easy fix for that though! Start out each conversation and business meeting by first asking a specific question about the other person, such as “I know your son had COVID. How is he doing?”

As a leader, it’s easy to become so hyper-focused on targets, metrics and whether the organization is meeting its goals, that you forget the people who work for you are human beings. With family, friends, passions, struggles and challenges outside of the organization. Starting out conversations and meetings with specific questions about people’s lives shows that you care about people not simply for what value they bring to the organization, but because they are valued and valuable human beings.

What do you think?

What do you know about the struggles and challenges your team members are going through?

How often do you ask about others’ lives outside of work?

Please share your ideas in the comments!

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This week’s Kind Leader research focuses on defining kindness, compassion and empathy!

As we discussed in The Kind Leader Newsletter #5, Emotional Intelligence is as important for leaders as business acumen! This week, we’re going to dive a little deeper into the difference between empathy (part of Emotional Intelligence), compassion and kindness, and how practicing kindness can help leaders become more empathetic and compassionate.

Empathy: Empathy, like compassion, is based in feelings. For most of us, the easiest explanation of empathy is the effort to understand someone else’s experience by thinking about what it would be like to be in their place and to feel like they are feeling.

Compassion: Compassion takes empathy to another level of feeling. As Hope Arnold, LCSW, MA states: “Compassion is characterized by the qualities of sympathy, empathy, and concern. It emphasizes nonjudgmental thinking toward self and others, validation, distress tolerance, and acceptance of what is occurring. Compassion is oriented toward healing, alleviating suffering and acknowledging that all humans suffer.” (https://blogs.psychcentral.com/radical-hope/2020/06/the-difference-between-kindness-and-compassion/)

Kindness: Kindness is active. It’s not just a feeling, but a way of thinking, speaking and acting towards others, and yourself. By thinking, speaking and acting kindly, we improve both our ability to be kind…and to feel empathy and compassion, through our actions towards others and ourselves. Because ‘doing changes thinking’, acting kindly is a great way to help you, as a leader, develop empathy and compassion towards those who work for you.

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Thank you all for reading the Kind Leader Newsletter! Please send me your thoughts and experiences practicing kind leadership so I can use them in The Kind Leader book and pass them on to others in the Newsletter!

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How to Stay Optimistic During Tough Times

It’s Monday morning! When you got out of bed, did you feel a sense of dread about the coming day and week? Or a sense of excitement? I’m asking because I’ve been thinking a lot about optimism over the past few weeks. In tough times, it can be even harder to stay optimistic – to believe that things are going to be okay and work our positively – than in regular times. Even super-optimistic people (like me) can be weighed down by the extra stresses of coping with the ongoing pandemic, social unrest and upheaval and concerns about difficulties family and friends are having. So today, to start off your week on the bright side, I’ve put together a short list of the things I do to keep myself looking at the bright side! Drawing and writing them out helped me…and I hope they’ll help you too! Please feel free to share with anyone and everyone! And remember, no one feels positive all the time! When you don’t, pick yourself up, brush yourself off, use these tips and soon you’ll be feeling optimistic again!

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Why I’m Voting for Kindness…and You Should be Too!

Last night, as I watched the first US Presidential ‘debate’ of 2020, my decision about how to cast my vote was solidified. Here’s what I’ve decided. While most people vote for a particular party, political platform, or for a specific candidate, this year I’ll be voting for kindness.

Here’s why.

Because the way a leader leads – how they do what they do, including what a leader says, has a huge effect on those they lead. From the President of the country, to the president of a company, what a leader models influences the thoughts, words and actions of the people they lead.

During these turbulent times, what our country needs is a leader who thinks, speaks and acts kindly. To everyone. At all times. A leader whose kindness will unite, not divide us. A leader whose kind words will calm and soothe the social unrest and upheaval we’re going through. A leader whose kind actions will help us to heal from the physical and mental unwellness of the global pandemic we’re all working to survive.

So, here are the top three things I’ll be looking for in a candidate when making my ‘vote for kindness’ choice this year:

  1. Evidence that the candidate thinks kindly of others. I’ll be looking to see what choices a candidate has made about who they invite to have a seat at their table; who’s been included – and who they have excluded – from important discussions and decisions. I’ll also be watching to see how they treat others from different backgrounds and cultures.
  2. Next, I’ll be listening to what the candidate says about others. Both in words and in print. Since our thoughts determine our words, and our words influence our own and others’ actions, the candidate I’ll be voting for needs to choose their words kindly. I’m not voting for a candidate who speaks disparagingly about others.
  3. Finally, I’ll be looking for a proven track record of acting kindly. How, in past, the candidate has treated those are less fortunate. Those who are vulnerable and need help. Even those the candidate doesn’t agree with. Because you don’t need to agree with someone’s views and opinions to speak and act kindly to them.

Today, in a world where a leaders’ words and actions travel quickly through social media channels such as Twitter, and television appearances like last night’s debate, their influence – unkind or kind – is amplified through repeated views and sharing. That means that in an increasingly fragmented, polarized, and divided world, we need leaders who actively model kindness. Because leaders who think, speak and act unkindly give legitimacy and permission to those they lead to think, speak and act in exactly the same unkind ways.

So that’s why, on November 3rd, I’m going to be voting for kindness. And I hope that you will too. Because, no matter which side of the political aisle you sit on, with your vote, in this election, you have the opportunity to vote not just for the President and your state representatives, but for kindness. And in these tough and turbulent times, that’s the vote we all need to cast.

And please don’t forget to download your free #VoteForKindness poster on our Posters page!

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The Kind Leader Newsletter #6




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5 Easy Tips to Stay Motivated During Tough Times

This morning when I woke up it was totally dark! Fall is here and the days are getting shorter. Many of us hoped the pandemic would be over by now. And that things would have gone back to normal. As summer turns into Fall, and extra stresses combined with continuing uncertainty add up, it can be hard to stay motivated. Some days it can even feel difficult to just get up out of bed and keep going. So yesterday, as I spent time drawing and reflecting, I created this mini-poster with ideas to help you (and me!) stay motivated through tough times. So if you’re not feeling super-motivated this Monday morning, please take a few minutes to read these ideas…and feel free to pass them on to others! And remember, no one feels – or needs to be – motivated every day! Including me! That’s okay too!

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The Kind Leader Newsletter #5



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Love Yourself!

This week, I’ve heard a lot of people judging themselves harshly. “It didn’t work out as I thought that it would, even though I did my best. Why am I so useless?” “I finally got up the courage to try something new and no one liked it. I wish I’d never tried it.” “I chose to take care of myself instead of others and it seems too self-centered.” And over and over again “I’m a failure”. Thing is, no one needs to judge themselves so harshly. We all make mistakes. We try new things and they don’t work out as planned. That doesn’t mean we failed…or that we are “failures”, even if we don’t act as we want to. It means we are human. So reflect. Then move forwards. Because opportunities to think, speak and act differently are already here! So, instead of focusing on the past, and judging yourself for past mistakes, look forward, take what you’ve learned from your reflection and try again. We have a lifetime to practice! Be kind to others, be kind to yourself. No matter how many times it takes you can simply try again!

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