Experts suggest that focusing on kindness can bring you a wealth of returns in the future, beyond good friendships. Here’s why you should pay it forward.
What would happen if instead of being motivated by money alone to get ahead, we were driven by kindness? Author wondered this too, and found that businesses with core principles, such as compassion, gratitude and generosity, generated unexpected returns.
“Every business person I interviewed who practised kindness was happier, made more money, had more prospects and better publicity. They were also generally more fulfilled and productive,” says Jill of
her research, published in her book (Career Press, $32.98). “Using kindness as a currency is a way to create solid relationships that will pay off for years. Kindness is the kind of currency that keeps on giving, is remembered and enables you to go faster, further and with more velocity.”
The Gold Coast, recently named the first World Kindness City by the Congress of the , is the poster city for this approach to prosperity. Gold Coast kindness ambassador and local councillor Glenn Tozer says, “The city is built on entrepreneurism and lifestyle, and I think there’s an element of gratitude that coexists with those characteristics that make kindness a natural value of the city.
“Successful entrepreneurs here take advantage of opportunities
that come their way, but they tend to avoid a sense of entitlement,
and they are grateful for every new customer,” Glenn says. “Whenever you speak to a Gold Coast entrepreneur, they’ll often recall acts of kindness that made them the success they are today, and they like to ‘pay that back’ or even ‘pay it forward’.”
However, you don’t have to be a businessperson to benefit from what Jill calls an ‘ROK’ or ‘return on kindness’. “Kindness currency works everywhere: at home, in your business or career, and with your friends,” says Jill. She goes on to tell the story of a friend who drove more than 60 kilometres in the rain to give her homemade chicken soup when she was unwell. Thoughtful acts like this cemented their relationship, and this friendship continues to pay dividends. “I refer a lot of business to my friend and she ends up making a lot of money from those referrals,” says Jill. “That act of kindness works in every environment and every relationship. There are no exceptions.”
So how do we cash in on this new currency? “Everyone is familiar with random acts of kindness. I want you to practise conscious acts
of kindness — at least one every day,” says Jill. “Take a moment and think, ‘How can I be more kind?’ We need this in our world now more than ever. Kindness is the one thing that lasts and continues to warm our hearts, nurture our spirits and grow our businesses and careers.”
When situations get tough…
“What’s hard is finding opportunities to be kind in the face of challenging people, people we disagree with, or people who don’t like us,” Glenn says. “Remaining calm and sticking to your guns, while finding a way to ask what the kindest act would be, is sometimes very difficult, but very important.” So take a deep breath, walk
away if you need to, and respond when you’re calmer.
Jill’s 7 kindness principles
Want to be a kinder person? Jill suggests focusing on these principles:
Put time and effort into cultivating quality relationships. “You can’t have kindness without connection to others, or connection without kindness,” says Jill.
Say thank you often, so the people around you feel appreciated. Jill says, “Be generous with your gratitude to instil a culture of kindness.”
Being patient with those around you reinforces your connection. On the other hand, Jill says, “Impatience sends connectivity and the bonds we most desire in life toppling down.”
“Flexibility is the key to life and to all healthy relationships,” says Jill. “In fact, to be flexible is to be adaptable.”
“For even the most mundane thing, be generous with thanking, compliments, and praising of everyone,” says Jill. This act won’t go unnoticed.
“Practise forgiveness, offer constructive criticism and give the benefit of the doubt,” says Jill.
“Positivity gives us the strength to look at the most dismal circumstances and find solutions, rather than pull our heads into the sanctuary of our protective shells,” says Jill.
For more ideas, visit Jill’s website .