Throughout 2021 I have featured lots of wonderful guest writers for the ‘What If’ kindness series. I decided that the final one of the year should come from me!
In January this year, I did two things that proved to be significant:
- I wrote a LinkedIn article and opened it with the words ‘This year I am focussing on amplifying the kindness that exists in the world.’
- I set up an Instagram account called time_for_kindness
At that time, my idea to share stories of kindness was little more than something positive to think about during yet another lockdown. I had fun looking out for kind acts and then putting them on Instagram. I was pleased when people gave a story a like.
But I thought about it as a sideline to my ‘real’ focus, my communications work with charities and other not-for-profit organisations. I even said to my business coach that Time for Kindness was just something I was playing with, not to be taken seriously.
I did tell my friends and family about what I was doing. The response was overwhelmingly positive. It seemed that I wasn’t the only one who was looking for something to make them smile amongst the unrelenting negativity of the news.
Mind you, most of them also said ‘that’s a great idea, I’d love to read those stories but I’m not on Instagram.’
I carried on ‘playing’ with my side hustle, realising just how much kindness there is to see once you start looking. I refined how I thought about kindness and how I talked about it. I considered how I might bring this new area of interest closer to the work I was doing with my clients.
And all the while, there was a little voice at the back of my head saying, ‘this is lovely, but all those people not on Instagram are missing out’.
Finally, in November I took the next step and added a page of kindness services to the Time for Kindness website. Now individuals and organisations who want to communicate their messages more effectively can find my support in the same place as the positive stories.
Spreading the word
Kindness is powerful. It connects and unites people. It demonstrates our shared humanity. Don’t underestimate the power of using the language of kindness.
As I got bolder and more vocal about my belief in kindness, I was invited to talk about it on several podcasts, lives and even a radio programme! You can find links to hear me speak at the bottom of this blog.
Each time I spoke about it, there was a positive response and my messages seemed to resonate with people. There is an appetite for stories that uplift us and make us smile, as well as advice for bringing kindness into different situations.
5 tips for speaking up about kindness
- Actively look out for the kindness around you. The more you look, the more you will see. It’s like when you decide to buy a red car and suddenly there are red Ford Kas and Nissan Micras everywhere you look.
- Tell each other the stories you want to hear. If you want to talk about this sort of thing, chances are someone else does too.
- Remember that being kind is normal behaviour. Most people are innately kind – the vast majority would help a neighbour if they dropped their shopping in the street, for example.
- If you see someone being kind, call it out. We are all looking for approval from others at heart, so positive praise will encourage more of the same.
- Own it. I have recently become even bolder about how I speak about this topic. I’ve decided I’m not going to shy away from this anymore, it’s too important to me. And that feels incredibly empowering!
I am no longer just dipping my toe in the waters of talking about kindness. I’ve been openly talking about my beliefs, posting on social media, spotting and sharing stories of everyday kind acts. And I have plans to do even more in 2022.
Like I said, there is a lot of kindness in the world today. We just don’t talk about it enough.
Choose from the links below and hear me speak about kindness and how it impacts our lives in different settings:
- The Freelancer’s Tea Break podcast – how I have been building from ‘passion project’ to a central part of who I am and how I work
- Instagram Live with Alexis Bushnell – a conversation about making social media kinder which was my first experience of a ‘Live’
- The Talent Cycle podcast – how you can promote kindness to improve wellbeing in your workplace
- Creating great places to work with Legal Lottie – advice for organisations who want to improve the culture in their workplace