Kind To-Do List - September 2022

Kind To-Do List - September 2022

The community I work in has yard signs posted everywhere that say “Be Kind.” That’s it. Just be kind. An out-of-town friend came to visit and said the signs made her a little cranky. “Why should we have to tell people to be kind?” she asked. I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know that one of the people we are often least kind to is ourselves.

And it matters. Compassionate acts towards others help the giver even more than the receiver. That’s not just my opinion. Research on well-being bears this out consistently. As a leader of your workplace culture, taking a few moments each day to sharpen your sights on kindness can seem a subtle shift, but it is a powerful one. Your mood affects those around you and zeroing in on kindness for a few moments each day is at the heart of leading.

If you could use a well-being boost, and most of us can right now, try one of these actions my co-workers have demonstrated (I work with wonderfully kind people).
  1. Buy a few $5 or $10 gift cards at a local store and ask the salesperson to give them out to anyone they sense needs a lift in their spirits.
  2. Get the coffee for the next person in line behind you.
  3. Let the person with a full cart and a couple of tired kids get in front of you in line at the grocery store.
  4. Spend five minutes listening to one person who is important to you, without interrupting, without one-upping, without multi-distracting.
  5. Turn off your phone for a whole Sunday.
  6. At the end of any problem discussion, ask and discuss, “What went WELL?” and, “Who helped someone in this experience?”
  7. Apologize when you’ve been short with someone.
  8. Take a little potted plant to a store clerk who regularly waits on you where you shop.
  9. Tell a co-worker how much you appreciate them and what specifically you appreciate about them.
  10. Write a thank you card to someone in your address book who you have not talked to in a while, letting them know that you are thinking of them.
  11. Ask your family members to describe their perfect day. Here’s mine in a poem by Alice B. Parsons.
  12. Add your own idea here. Better yet, facilitate a conversation with your team to have them add their own ideas to “What does it mean to be kind?”
    Beyond kindness to others, expand your sense of possibility and hope with some of these simple actions:
  13. Drive home a different route, brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand standing on one foot, change up one of your morning routines (e.g. glass of water then coffee).
  14. Set a timer and read for ten minutes from a book you’ve been meaning to start.
  15. Look at these awe-inspiring photos from the Sierra Club and lose yourself for a little bit in the breathtaking places on this planet.
  16. Imagine what your good friend would say about you if they were describing you to someone who didn’t know you. Tell yourself all the great things you would hear.
  17. Daydream, doodle, “waste” some time. You never know what may come out of it.
  18. Write down five things you would enjoy doing. Pick one and make a plan to do it.
  19. Write down a thing you don’t enjoy doing and want to quit. Consider quitting it.
  20. Take 60 seconds, put your hand on your heart and call to mind someone you love. Hold it there for one minute as you allow those feelings of love to bubble up. Take your next action from that place.

The next time you feel crabby at the human race, recognize it. Pause, take a deep breath, and remember that you have choices. Exercise one of those choices to refocus on something you do have control over. That would be you.




Jo Anne Preston In Jo Anne's current role as Organizational and Workforce Development Senior Manager at the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative (RWHC) her aim is to offer to leaders straightforward tools and inspire the courage to use them.
Leading The Way In Five Mintues A Day

Lead the Way in Five Minutes A Day: Sparking High Performance in Yourself and Your Team, by Jo Anne Preston is currently available for purchase.

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