This past Friday, I had an epiphany about kindness. I'd had a busy week and found that I'd spent a good part of the week rushing to get things done. Maybe you did too. And maybe, like me, when you were rushing, you felt like your heart was racing, and like the weight of the world was on your shoulders. Maybe, like me, in your rush to get everything done, with the feeling of so much pressure, you were short with, or snapped at. someone who asked you a question. Maybe it was one your team members, or a family member. Maybe you didn’t notice someone who needed your help. Maybe that person was one of the people who report to you at work. Maybe, like me, while you were rushing, you missed an opportunity to be kind to someone...to ask one of the people you lead 'how they were doing'...not just "what" they were doing. To stop and chat. To find out wish them Happy Anniversary or Happy Birthday.
During my weekly Friday Introspection time, I slowed down and took some time to think about why people, and leaders, don’t always act and speak kindly (myself included). I’ve come to the conclusion that "rushing" impedes kindness. Why?
Because when we’re rushing, we’re often focused on the “ends”, “things” we need to “get done”… instead of people!
When we’re rushing, we’re usually focused on ourselves, what we need and want, not on what others need and want...and kindness is about helping others.
When we’re rushing we’re less likely to be kind, because kindness often takes time: to listen to what someone needs, think of what to do to help, and then help them.
So, here’s what I’ve decided. When I feel like I’m “rushing”, I’m going to stop, take a few minutes to figure out why, and then slow down. Because often, the only reason I'm rushing is that I’m putting the pressure to rush! No one else is. If I’m a minute late, no one is actually really going to mind. If I get one less “thing” done today, it will be there tomorrow! The choice to do so many things is also my choice. And it's my choice to slow down, remember that being kind to people is more important than "checking something off my list", and that Leading with Kindness, means that I'm modeling good time management, and not rushing, to others. I've decided that it’s my “time”, and I’m going to use it in the kindest possible way!
So here’s my question for you: Are you rushing? Take some time today to notice, and then some time for introspection so that you too can take the time to be kind!
For more on creating time for deliberate introspection and reflection, please see Chapter 4 of The Kind Leader: A Practical Guide to Eliminating Fear, Creating Trust, and Leading with Kindness. You'll find lots of tips and tricks and exercises to help you slow down and find the time to be kind!
You can also join our Fall Session of The Kind Leader Guided Book Club. It starts September 15th. We'd love to have you as part of our Kind Leadership Community!