Whole Living: Kindness

It’s the first full week in November, a month of kindness and thanksgiving.  I’m excited to spend this whole week talking about what it means to be kind.

To start off, let’s address the big question: why?  If the world is full of people who do kindness for one day and bad things for the other 364, what’s the point?

Maybe you’ve seen some of those commercials for auto insurance I believe where people do something kind for someone and someone else sees it and because that other person did something kind, they go on and do their own act of kindness, kind of a domino effect.

The thing is that you don’t know which one of the 20 people on the street corner that watch you help that old lady across the street will be impacted.  You don’t know if by helping a coworker with something at work that they won’t go home and spend time with their kids instead of doing work.  You don’t know if by sending out a tweet or Facebook message that you’ll help someone find the strength to get out of bed another day.  It’s kind of like the best game of Monopoly in the world-except someone always gets to go to “go” and earn $200.  Maybe it’s you this time, maybe it’s the lady in the next door apartment, maybe it’s the homeless man on the street.

It may seem like a silly thing to hold a door for someone, bring in bagels to work, offer to help someone with a project or read a book with your kids, but you never know how your little act of kindness will help someone.  The moral of the story is that kindness is never a waste.  Look for ways this week especially that you can do something kind for someone else.

Family Story Time

In some parts of the US November is Family Literacy Month. Elsewhere, it’s just celebrated on the 1st.   Why is it important to have all these reading holidays?  No, it’s not so we take a break from reading, it’s because so many families and children aren’t reading and they should be.  Reading is one of the simplest ways to become smarter, to grow your imagination and expand your horizons.

What can you read?  You can read the newspaper together, a magazine together, or books together. Personally books are my fav0rite, but if you can enjoy reading with your kids by reading Sports Illustrated, by all means, do it (but try a book too).  As a book lover, here are some of my recommendations for families:

Kids:

-Boxcar Children Series

-Magic Tree House Series

-Laura Ingalls Wilder books

-For those with creative persuasions

Parents:

-Five Love Languages

-Scream Free Parenting

-Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child

-Happy For No Reason

Those are just a few of the millions of great books out there.  This month I encourage you to spend time with your family, reading to and with your kids and partners.  Visit a library near you today and pick up a couple of books!  I’d love to hear what your favorite books are, share them below.

Leadership in Storms

If you’ve been following the news you may have heard about the winter storm that the Northeast USA had over the weekend.  Yes, we had between a couple inches and a couple feet of wet snow depending on where you live.  As a result many were without power (some still are) and there were trees and power lines everywhere.  And the worst of the damage may not be evident yet, we’ll see with the next winter storm if more trees were actually damaged and somehow hung on.

I was talking with a friend after the storm who was baffled as to the main roads still having trees on them three days later.  He shared his plan for what he would do if he were mayor and in charge of making cleanup decisions.  His plan sounds good to me, but he’s not the mayor.  So as leaders what can we learn?

-Have a tentative plan in place at all times.  In this day and age with all the natural disasters we’ve had it’s irresponsible to not have a plan to deal with serious situations like earthquakes, early snows and even situations like Occupy Wall Street.  It doesn’t have to be followed word-for-word, but you should have some idea of what you will do should a situation occur.

-Everyone would do things a little differently.  Yes, we each have our approach to how we handle our businesses, situations we experience and changes that should be made.  Some people attack the situation and are leaders of the pack, others let things get tried and tested before they make a move.  Is one or the other right?  Usually it doesn’t matter as long as you don’t resist so long that it’s past the point of being effective.

-Take action.  Nothing will get done unless action is taken.  If you’re not moving in a direction you won’t get anything done at all.  Getting something done, not matter how little, is better than not doing anything at all.

-Leaders know how to prioritize.  You won’t get anything done if you work toward the wrong goal, and micromanaging is the wrong goal.  Leaders bring other leaders together to accomplish the highest priority tasks, delegating them to the appropriate individuals and teams.

-Communicate.  Once you’ve decided on a course of action and who will be doing what, make sure you’ve communicated all expectations, plans and tasks to the right people.  Let them know if you expect to hear updates from them, a time frame and other important details.  Also communicate how they can get in touch with you and other key people.

What about you?  Do you have a plan for both you personally and for your business?  What have you done to prepare?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.