Ever since she retired as a flight attendant, Cathy my wife, has been volunteering as a reading tutor for elementary school students in the Denver Public Schools. Last week she brought home a little paper from her school about Random Acts of Kindness Week. I’m a little late reporting on it here as Random Acts of Kindness Week ran from February 13 – 19. But that’s OK – there can never be too much kindness in this world.
If you want to know more about Random Acts of Kindness Week go to the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation homepage: http://www.randomactsofkindness.org. This year, they were encouraging kids to perform a random act of kindness on Valentine’s Day by “making a Valentine card for a teacher or a classmate with whom you don’t usually talk or play.” Pretty cool idea, huh?
Random acts of kindness have some career success implications too. I devote 20 tweets in my career advice book Success Tweets to building strong, lasting, mutually beneficial relationships. Strong relationships greatly enhance your chances of creating the career success you deserve.
The career advice in these tweets has a strong pay it forward flavor to it. For example, Tweet 128 in Success Tweets says, ““When meeting someone new, ask yourself, “What can I do to help this person?” You’ll build stronger relationships by thinking this way.” Tweet 130 says, “Be generous. By giving with no expectation of return, you’ll be surprised by how much comes back to you in the long run.”
When my book, Straight Talk for Success, first came out I did a big launch campaign that resulted in it becoming an Amazon.com bestseller. A few months before the launch, I settled on April 22 as my launch date; mostly because the timing was right. When I looked closer at my calendar, I saw that April 22 happens to be Earth Day. I can remember participating in teach-ins at Penn State on the very first Earth Day in 1970.
I decided that there was some karma involved here. Since I had chosen April 22 without knowing it was Earth Day, I thought it would be nice for me to pay it forward and donate 10% of my net proceeds from book sales that day to an organization that supports the environment. I knew the perfect one.
I am a member of Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, an apolitical environmental organization. Their mission is to “motivate and enable Colorado citizens to be active stewards of Colorado’s public lands, thereby creating enthusiastic and beneficial stewardship of Colorado’s natural and cultural resources.” They are my favorite environment related non-profit. They do great work. I was happy to help them out by donating a part of the money I made on book sales that Earth Day.
I called Ann Baker Easley, VOC Executive Director, and told her what I had in mind. I was expecting a “thank you.” I got that, and much more. Ann put me in touch with Piep van Heuven, VOC Deputy Director of Development and Communication. Piep included a message about my book launch in the VOC newsletter, and sent an email to their membership on the day of the book launch, asking them to purchase a copy of Straight Talk.
What started off as a philanthropic endeavor on my part turned into a partnership. And, it proved my point about giving with no expectation of return. I approached VOC thinking that I could help them by making a small contribution. They embraced my idea, and took it one step further. So now, we are partners. I think this is great.
This doesn’t always work. Prior to my book launch, I participated in a book launch campaign for another author. When I asked her to return the favor, I got an email saying, “I am not participating in any book launch promotions just now. I am laser focused on building my business using Facebook.”
In other words, “Kiss off, Bud.” But that’s OK. I helped her with her successful launch, and many other people – some very unexpected — helped me with mine. In my experience, for every experience where my help is not reciprocated, there are two or three more like my experience with Volunteer for Outdoor Colorado.
That’s why paying it forward through random acts of kindness is such great career advice. You participate in creating a kinder, gentler world, and you improve your chances of getting something back – in unexpected ways.
The career success coach point here is simple common sense. Random acts of kindness not only help make the world a kinder gentler place, they help you create the life and career success you want and deserve. Successful people are interpersonally competent. Interpersonally competent people build strong relationships by giving with no expectation of return. They follow the career advice in Tweets 128 and 130 in Success Tweets. “When meeting someone new, ask yourself, “What can I do to help this person?” (128) “Be generous. By giving with no expectation of return, you’ll be surprised by how much comes back to you in the long run.” (130) You’ll build stronger relationships by thinking this way. The next time you meet someone new, ask yourself, “What can I do to help this person?” Most people ask the opposite question, “How can this person help me?” By thinking “how can I help” first, you’ll be better able to build strong relationships that will pay off and help you create life and career success. Way back on January 20, 1961, in his inauguration speech as President of the United States, John Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.” These words – with a slight twist — are true today and will help you become a life and career success. “Ask not what others can do for you. Ask what you can do for others.” Practice random acts of kindness – for your own good, and for the good of us all.
That’s my career advice based on Random Acts of Kindness Week. What do you think? Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment. And as always, thanks for reading my daily thoughts on life and career success. I value you and I appreciate you. Practice a random act of kindness today, tell us about it in a comment.
PS: If you haven’t already done so, please download a free copy of my popular career advice book Success Tweets and its companion piece Success Tweets Explained. The first gives you 140 bits of career success advice tweet style — in 140 characters or less. The second is a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail. Go to http://budurl.com/STExp to claim your free copy. You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.
PPS: I opened a membership site last September. It’s called My Corporate Climb and is devoted to helping people create career success inside large corporations. You can find out about the membership site by going to http://www.mycorporateclimb.