Steve Shallenberger: Welcome to the Becoming Your Best Podcast, wherever you may be in the world today, we are honored and privileged to have you with us! I wish we had the chance to just be together and talk about this great subject that we are going to discuss today!
Steve Shallenberger: Have you ever had an experience that changed your life forever? Sometimes that can take place in just a moment. I had one of those experiences, just last week. The experience was so profound, I feel that it will have a permanent impact on my life and behavior, for the rest of my life. It is a perfect example of working to live principle #5, “Live the Golden Rule in Business and Life”, from Becoming Your Best, the 12 Principles of Highly Successful Leaders.
Steve Shallenberger: Here is the experience: Our family had just recently had an extraordinary trip to Spain for an amazing reunion with family and friends. We returned via John F. Kennedy airport in New York City, really focused on getting home after a long trip and being away. As you know, it is quite a process when traveling with family, particularly with six grandchildren and especially when mixed with the security process at JFK, who are all about business and do such a great job. Things are focused, hurried, pushing, with a mass of people busily heading in a hundred different directions. The family had hurried ahead of Roxanne and me, and we had just cleared security, heading to our gate. As we descended on the escalator, going down to the pathway to the gates, Roxanne and I, both noticed a cute little girl that was on the stairs, going down, next to the escalator. She was about 3 years old, she was weeping and crying. Right as I descended from the escalators, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, the mother, but I got to the end of the escalator and moved right on to the gates. I had gone about 30 feet and noticed that Roxanne was not with me.
Steve Shallenberger: I looked back and noticed that Roxanne was standing together with the mother. I kind of motioned to her, “Come on!”, but she didn’t. I returned to them and noticed that the mother was also weeping and deeply emotional. I looked up at my wife and she was also touched and tears were rolling down her cheeks. Roxanne, then, reached out and warmly embraced and just held this young mother and comforted her. This beautiful Indian woman explained that she was heading to New Delhi and had just said goodbye to her husband, a few minutes before, and it was so hard. This was such a touching scene! Roxanne comforted the young lady as if she was her own daughter. You could tell this simple gesture was most welcomed and appreciated. After a few minutes, we wished the young mother and her toddler daughter well, and were reluctantly on our way.
Steve Shallenberger: I really felt I was on sacred ground, being blessed to observe something very special. As I reflected upon it, of all of the things going on in JFK, that day, perhaps that moment was one of the most important. The lesson is all the more important because my dear wife, who is in advanced stages of dementia and Alzheimer’s, noticed something important that I had entirely missed and took for granted. I felt embarrassed, that’s for sure, just quietly to myself. But I also felt humbled, with a desire to do better. So, thank you, Roxanne, for teaching me I can do and be better! Thank you for your example of love, compassion and building a better world!
Steve Shallenberger: Reflect upon a person, maybe, that you have worked with, including mentors, fellow workers, employers, employees, friends and family, and think about this, because this has been very helpful, because perhaps some of these are among your very favorite people in life, who have consistently recognized you, your talents, and helped you along in life. You feel great around these people as you reflect upon them. We are indebted to that kind of a highly successful leader. There goes that word again, LEADER! I use that word because leadership is taking deliberate action to help things get to a better place. It is so fun to be around inspiring leadership, that lifts the world, that lifts you, that lifts an entire team or an organization. Leadership is ACTION oriented. The highly successful leaders’ actions are not dependent on how somebody else treats them or what somebody else does or does not do to them. You can be that same influence in the lives of others, especially those closest to you – your spouse, partner, children, grandchildren, family, and friends. That’s exactly what Roxanne was doing that day, in JFK. She was exercising leadership. It didn’t make any difference where we were going, we certainly had the time, we weren’t going to miss that flight. And her behavior was not dependent upon somebody else’s pressure for a schedule. She took the time to notice something and do what was right.
Steve Shallenberger: Ask yourself every day, who is in need today? How can I lift the hands that hang down, the troubled in heart, the person that suffered a setback or is going through a trial? Listen! Look around! Respond and act! This is living principle #5, Live the Golden Rule in Business and Life. When you do this consistently, as part of your life, it is one of the most powerful influences that exist, to cause change. These kinds of actions motivate, inspire, lift, build and help people to become the best that they can be. In the process, you are Becoming Your Best.
Steve Shallenberger: In addition to experiences that you have had in this area, either being on the receiving or giving side of things, think of some of the greatest leaders in history and how they treated other people. It’s one of the reasons we remember them. The best do things differently than much of the world: George Washington or Wilbur Wilberforce, Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller, Florence Nightingale, Abe Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and so on. Men and women who have had such a warm impact, lifted and built others. Not only were these individuals that changed our world for good, but they are known for treating other people right, for taking time to care.
Steve Shallenberger: I went to the Internet just thinking about this, and found an anonymous fun piece on this subject, entitled “50 Random Acts of Kindness.” I have taken the liberty to make some edits and I will share a few of the ideas and will include all 50, with my modifications, with the liberties I’ve taken to change them a little bit. I’m going to call it, “50 ways to ‘Care’ for Others – Random Acts of Kindness”. Here are just a few: With family members, notice how they’re doing. Ask what has been their high point, in the last month or the last week. What has been their low point? And what makes you happiest?
Steve Shallenberger: Here’s another one: Surprise a neighbor, with freshly baked cookies or treats. I was thinking, as I looked at that question, how often that really happens and occasionally, every once in a while, we have some treats brought by, but it’s not a big number, and we have a lot of great, wonderful friends, but this is just a good example of going the extra mile. Here’s another one: Rather than asking someone IF you can be of help, ask, “May I give you a hand with that?”, and actually look for something that you can do to help and then go for it! Here’s another one: Send a gratitude email to a co-worker or a friend or a family member who deserves more recognition or has a need, perhaps, to be lifted.
Steve Shallenberger: These are just good examples, I have just two or three more from this list of 50. Here’s one: Everyone is important! Learn the names of your office security guard, the person at the front desk or other people you see every day. Greet them by name. Also say, “Hello” to strangers, and smile. These acts of kindness are so easy and they almost always make people smile. I like this one: Write your partner or spouse a list of things you love about them. How about this one? Run an errand for a family member who is busy. I love it, it’s so good! Here’s the last one I’m going to share out of the 50: Email or write to a former teacher who made a difference in your life. And that could also be a former leader.
Steve Shallenberger: One of the questions that frequently comes up is, “How can I affect permanent change for good in my life?” Especially when we think about an experience like I had or like you’ve had that’s had a big impact, and you want to incorporate it. One of the best ways to change is to be sure what you want to do. What you desire is reflected in your 1,2,3. You’ll say, “Well, what is the 1,2,3?” 1,2,3 represents your vision, your annual goals, and pre-week planning. In my case, for example, this had a huge emotional impact on me. So, how do I take the next step and build it into my life and into my behavior? Well, I have added to my vision to “slow down” and “be aware” of the important things going on, especially with those closest to me!
Steve Shallenberger: So, you have the vision, and once you have it, you’ve got it! But you can make little changes, little additions, little edits like this, and then each time when you read it, it reminds you of the emotion, the desire that you have. You could even, in the middle of the year, add a new part to your annual goal. In this case, it might be, for me, I think about how do I take the vision and do something this year that makes it more of a reality? Mine is the little addition, is to take out each grandchild on a one-on-one meal or outing, just to get to know them better. To listen, to slow down and then, the third one, number three, is pre-week planning. This is where you can reflect upon the role of leader, or spouse or family father/grandfather, mother/grandmother, whatever it might be, and what can I do this week to be more attentive? This is where you can implement, then, your annual goals and what you want to do. If you want to really affect any type of permanent change, when you front load that desire or hoped-for behavior is, into your 1,2, 3, it is much more likely to become a permanent part of your life.
Steve Shallenberger: So, what is the impact of Living the Golden Rule, both in Business and Life? Of doing these things? Well, you have the feeling that what you are doing is the right thing to do! You are leaving the world a better place. Now, research shows that recognizing and building others is far and away far more productive than criticism or, worst, doing nothing. There is another impact of this: in this type of positive environment that you create, by doing this kind of things that we’re talking about, taking time to care, people flourish and are more engaged. We’re talking employees, we’re talking family members, we’re talking those we associate with in civic responsibilities. And this lays the foundation for high performance as individuals and organizations. Also, is very powerful in that one of the greatest impacts, you have greater happiness, peace, tranquility, and success. You leave a better world.
Steve Shallenberger: There is currently far too much hate and meanness, ignorance, incivility, animosity, jealousy, and impatience in the world today. When there is a greater influence of love, kindness, caring, patience, and recognition of good, the world is changed for the better. This is the kind of action that my wife, Roxanne, showed in the busy JFK airport just a week ago. I am confident she blessed this woman in need. However, in the process, she changed my life.
Steve Shallenberger: May this principle and these simple examples, give you encouragement and greater energy, as you continue to make a difference in your own right, simply by working on living the 12 Principles of Highly Successful Leaders, and as we’ve discussed today, Taking Time To Care. This is Steve Shallenberger, wishing you a great day!
50 ways to “Care” for Others – Random Acts of Kindness:
- Pay it Backward: buy coffee or donuts or whatever for the person behind you in line.
- Compliment the first three people you talk to today.
- Send a positive text message to five different people right now.
- Post inspirational sticky notes around your neighborhood, office, school, etc.
- With family members, notice how they are doing. Ask what has been their high point in the last month? What was the low point? What makes you happiest?
- Donate old towels or blankets to an animal shelter.
- Say ‘hi’ to the person next to you on the elevator.
- Surprise a neighbor with freshly baked cookies or treats!
- Let someone go in front of you in line who only has a few items.
- Leave a gas gift card at a gas pump.
- Throw a party to celebrate someone just for being who they are, which is awesome.
- Have a LinkedIn account? Write a recommendation for coworker or connection.
- Leave quarters at the laundromat.
- Encounter someone in customer service who is especially kind and take an extra five minutes to tell their manager.
- Rather than asking someone if you can be of help, ask, „may I give you a hand with that?” and go for it!
- Leave a note on someone’s car telling them how awesome they parked.
- Try to make sure every person in a group conversation feels included.
- Write a kind message on your mirror with a dry erase marker for yourself, your significant other or a family member.
- Place a positive body image note in jean pockets at a department store.
- Smile at five strangers.
- Set an alarm on your phone to go off at three different times during the day. In those moments, do something kind for someone else.
- Send a gratitude email to a coworker who deserves more recognition.
- Practice self-kindness and spend 30 minutes doing something you love today.
- Give away stuff for free on Craig’s List.
- Write a gratitude list in the morning and again in the evening.
- Know parents who could use a night out? Offer to babysit for free.
- Hold up positive signs for traffic or in a park for people exercising outside!
- Return shopping carts for people at the grocery store.
- Buy a plant. Put it in a terracotta pot. Write positive words that describe a friend, on the pot. Give it to that friend!
- Write a positive comment on your favorite blog, website, or a friend’s social media account.
- Have a clean-up party at a beach or park.
- While you’re out, compliment a parent on how well-behaved their child is.
- Leave a kind server the biggest tip you can afford.
- When you’re throwing something away on the street, pick up any litter around you and put that in the trash too.
- Pay the toll for the person behind you.
- Put 50 paper hearts in a box. On each cutout write something that is special about your partner or a friend. Give them the box and tell them to pull out a heart anytime they need a pick-me-up.
- Everyone is important. Learn the names of your office security guard, the person at the front desk and other people you see every day. Greet them by name. Also, say “hello” to strangers and smile. These acts of kindness are so easy, and they almost always make people smile.
- Write your partner a list of things you love about them.
- Purchase extra dog or cat food and bring it to an animal shelter.
- Find opportunities to give compliments. It costs nothing, takes no time, and could make someone’s entire day. Don’t just think it. Say it.
- Take flowers or treats to the nurses’ station at your nearest hospital.
- Keep an extra umbrella at work, so you can lend it out when it rains.
- Send a ‘Thank you’ card or note to the officers at your local police or fire station.
- Take muffins or cookies to your local librarians.
- Run an errand for a family member who is busy.
- Leave a box of goodies in your mailbox for your mail carrier.
- Tape coins around a playground for kids to find.
- Put your phone away while in the company of others.
- Email or write to a former teacher who made a difference in your life.
- When you hear that discouraging voice in your head, tell yourself something positive — you deserve kindness too!