In a year that has seen the unfortunate passing of prominent T.V personality, Caroline Flack and the seismic impact of Coronavirus both to families and the aftershock to the economy, the concept of Kindness is a prescient choice by those behind Mental Health Awareness Week, which starts today.

Over the last 25 years I have been blessed to work with many wonderful people in both the sales field and, more recently, the healthcare sector. I have seen and experienced incredible levels of kindness, without which I would never have achieved the level of success I have been fortunate enough to reach.

I have had many years of experience developing people, usually from raw, inexperienced, graduates or 2nd jobbers; and in doing this, there has been a need to provide an environment where people trust you and can be open with you, sometimes about things that they feel are quite banal to the outsider but in reality are enough to concern them. Personally, I have often found myself playing the part of travel agent, relationship counselor, financial advisor, surrogate parent or simply another man going through the same stuff.

In the mental health space, I have seen the benefits of  being open and sharing ones journey, the power of identification and have blessed with others who have had the willingness to show me what needs to be done to experience real change. I hope that I too have been able to do the same for some.

Which brings me to the question I asked at the beginning of this article, what is kindness ? – In my opinion, it’s a quality in the human condition of being generous, considerate (and a whole load of other synonyms!) For some wonderful people, it is an embodiment of who they are, others have to work at it, for some, sadly it’s simply never going to happen.

Kindness is also truth.  I never thought I’d quote hamlet, but we all know the meaning of ‘cruel to be kind’. In business this saying can often manifest itself in actions such as – pointing out the reality that people are not right for the role they are in, or perhaps that someone should look at another career, as the one they are in isn’t right for them.  These are experiences I have had.  The word cruel is inaccurate though. Setting someone straight in business, as long as it’s done with compassion, honesty and empathy is not cruel. Not in the literal sense.

So as we begin Mental Health Awareness Week, if you think you need reminding to be kind, that it doesn’t come naturally to you, reflect on this: perhaps you may already be contributing positively to many other peoples day, and if you aren’t here are a few little things you can fit into your daily routine that will help you increase your kindness ometer!

  • Pick up the phone – Wish someone well, take 5 mins to take an interest in other peoples life.
  • Gratitude – Don’t underestimate the importance of being kind to yourself, don’t abuse yourself about what you are doing, or in some instances not doing. Take a moment to remember what you have and be grateful for it.
  • Smile – That’s right smile you can do it! On Zoom, facetime whatever, smiling really makes you and others feel better.
  • Do something and don’t expect anything in return – Even better don’t let them know about it.

For many Kindness is their DNA. It’s who they are, I know many people who, if I had to describe them in one word, that word would be kind. I am so fortunate to have those people in my life.

For me by acknowledging kindness, the power it brings, and understanding that kindness often demonstrates enormous courage and strength makes my own little corner of the world an infinitely better place.

“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.” – Albert Schweitzer

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