These days, there seems to be a shortage of kindness. In a country that feels increasingly divided kindness has become more important than ever for building bridges and breaking down the walls that keep us apart.
“As human beings, we need each other,” says Kevin Guest, chairman and CEO of USANA Health Sciences. “We need encouragement, empathy, and connections. We need smiles, kind words, good advice, and trusted friends.”
National Civility Month, held each August, provides an ideal opportunity to treat others with kindness, empathy, and respect. “National Civility Month is the perfect time to share kindness and expand our circle of influence for the better with those around us,” he says.
Guest, author of the bestseller All the Right Reasons: 12 Timeless Principles for Living a Life in Harmony, provides five ways to help leaders and employees strengthen company culture through the power of civility to each other.
1. Focus on Kindness
“Number one on the list is to focus on kindness first thing in the morning, and think about how you’ll treat others that day,” he says. “Maybe you’ll call your grandmother to let her know you’re thinking about her. Perhaps you’ll help your neighbor carry in her groceries—anything from the heart will do.”
2. Notice Others
Next, we should notice others around us who may be struggling. “If you know someone who’s experiencing a particular challenge, ask yourself what you would want from others if you were in their position,” says Guest. “If it’s a social evening out with friends to unwind or being a quiet listener, you have an opportunity to make a difference.”
3. Use Technology to be Kind
“Think of how wonderful it is to get a text from someone who tells you how much you helped them or matter to them,” he says. “Texting and emailing are quick and easy, yet those tools can send a powerful and kind message to someone, so follow your impressions when you feel inclined to reach out.”
4. Take the Higher Road
“When you avoid office gossip and don’t join negative talk about another person, that is a true demonstration of kindness and respect,” says Guest. “Keep yourself from listening to unpleasant statements about others, and don’t add anything negative to the conversation.”
In his book, Guest writes that his father had an employee who accidentally burned their lumber mill to the ground. “My parents were devastated, but because kindness and forgiveness were two of my dad’s core values, I don’t remember ever hearing him say anything derogatory about that employee,” he says. “In fact, that same employee continued to work at the mill for many years.”
5. Think of Yourself as an Instrument of Kindness
“It’s a wild concept to some, but have you considered that maybe you were put on this earth to be kind to others? If you believe it’s your job, role, or destiny to be good to others, you’ll begin to behave with kindness all the time,” says Guest. “When you believe you can greatly affect the feelings of others through simple acts of kindness, you’ll act differently and see remarkable things happen to them and to yourself.”
All proceeds from All the Right Reasons are directed to feed two million meals to hungry children. Available on Amazon, the book provides 40 meals for each single purchase.