Sometimes it’s hard to write. You know you want to write about a particular topic but the words don’t come. That’s not the case for this one because I want to talk about kindness and this is a topic that’s been very much at the top of my mind for the last few weeks and months.
As most of you will know I recently launched the HardTalk Handbook and, in doing so, I had an opportunity to experience kindness from so many people, in so many situations that it almost broke my heart.
From the manicurist who spent 3 hours (I know!) making sure that my nails would be perfect when she heard that I was launching a book, via the lady who met me in a supermarket queue and later sent me a picture of the book that she’d ordered the same day via www.noon.com, to the clients who found time in their busy lives to attend the party, I’ve been overwhelmed.
It’s almost got to the stage where I’m taking it for granted. Of course my parents would somehow manage to make sure that flowers arrived for me just before the launch (thus threatening my make up), of course the Saudi friend who was with me when the first copy of my first book arrived would fly into Dubai from Riyadh for an hour simply to show his face and pick up a copy of the second, of course the buyer from Kinokuniya would give us an amazing spot in the store and introduce us to exactly the right person to make sure the book will be in stores across the Middle East. I almost take it for granted, but just almost.
Of course we should never get used to kindness. We should never take it for granted. Even if it’s things much smaller than those above. As soon as we do we risk behaving in a way that it is nearly designed to ensure we don’t experience it again.
On the other hand, we must also make sure we don’t get used to other, less positive, things. As soon as you accept the world around you and the behaviour of those you interact with without question and without comment you’re telling them you don’t care. If you aren’t noticing what’s happening and responding to it then you’re saying “meh, it’s ok by me”.
If you’re lucky enough to be surrounded by kindness, acknowledge it and say thank you.
And if you’re faced with rudeness, indifference or worse, then speak up. Nothing changes without a conversation.
If you’d like to learn more about mastering the art and science of difficult conversations or HardTalk™ you can do so here; by signing up for the newsletter or sending us an email. We’d also love to hear your thoughts on this and other topics on LinkedIn or Twitter .
Dawn Metcalfe is an executive coach, facilitator, trainer and leadership advisor. She is also the author of Managing the Matrix (published in both English and Arabic) and HardTalk™. Dawn is the founder of Dubai based PDSi, which helps individuals and teams get even better at what they do, and has worked with business leaders around the world to change the way they see the world, their behaviour and their impact on others.