When there's so much stress in the world, whether due to the pandemic, financial strain or social division and injustice, it's amazing how a small act of kindness can make such a huge difference – both in your day, and in the world.
My assistant Mary Anne lives in the Philippines and recently shared this story with me:
“In the midst of the pandemic, a lot of people lost their jobs, just like the rest of the world, but for people in a third world country it means hunger for families. One woman has recently inspired many others to help provide people with free food.
She called it the “Maginhawa Community Pantry”. She placed a table beside the street and filled it with her personal donations like canned goods, bread, eggs and whatever she had. The sign simply read, “Give what you can, take only what you need.”
In the next few hours, the news spread and more people were coming from all over to get food. But the amazing thing was that people also started sending in donations in boxes, dropping off vegetables and sacks of rice. It was like the story in the Bible of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes.
Since then, community pantries have popped up in almost every place in the Philippines, organized by different organizations. In less than a month, the original community pantry has grown so big it has to move into a permanent place with storage and the donations just keep on coming.”
The most powerful part of the story to me is how the modeling of kindness inspires others to do the same.
This month is Asian American and Pan Pacific Heritage Month. As we celebrate this for the whole month of May, we’d like to spotlight extraordinary Asian and Asian American leaders who have been guests on the Speaking to Influence podcast. One of them is Sam King, President and CEO of Veracode, who shared how they promote small acts of kindness as part of company culture.
In our episode, Sam described how they call their Slack Channel a “shout out channel” where employees could publicly acknowledge and thank colleagues who helped them in any way at work.
Navigating a whole new way to do work during a pandemic can be stressful, and this is a way not only to brighten someone's day, but also help people get recognized for leadership qualities like generosity and guidance, which is important for everyone's career path yet particularly easy to miss in the isolation of the WFH environment.
You know that each week on the podcast there's a 24-hour listener influence challenge: a single step to take and complete within 24 hours to help you increase your influence. Well, this week I'm giving you a 24-hour READER influence challenge instead.
Here's your challenge: In the spirit of “a little kindness goes a long way,” make a conscious choice to do “a little kindness” for someone. It could be public like on Veracode's shout-out channel, or totally anonymous like donating a bag full of dry goods or toiletries to your local food bank.
If nothing else, in the beautiful and immortal words of Mother Theresa, “We shall never know all the good a simple smile can do.”
Don't overthink it; just do it.
And here's a thought — after you do one kindness for someone, do another. Your investment will pay off with an ROI you'll feel instantly, and continue to enjoy with compound interest.
Here's to your success,