Every exercise is a chance to learn something if you do it right--I find myself telling clients that all the time. Clients may say things like: "oh, we have data already." But the survey data they have is are for the purpose of measuring something else. If you want to learn, you have to make the effort to do it.
Every exercise is a chance to learn.
That was my goal with #40ForGood. Sure, I could have spent the day doing good deeds on my own, but that wasn't the only intention. It was to refocus everyday attitudes to pay attention to something good for a change. Spread the kindness at a time when all we hear and talk about is the bad. If you missed out on the fun, I'll recap:
I turned 40 on Saturday (no looking back now!) and I shamelessly asked people to celebrate with me by doing a good deed for someone and sharing it with the hashtag #40ForGood. And I was humbled by the response. From flowers to movie tickets to sweeping a neighbor's porch--it was exactly what I wanted for my birthday. One mom even engaged her sons in on the action and they enjoyed it so much they asked her to do another deed.
But I also learned what's at the crux of the way we're living now. So many well-intentioned people said: "hey that's awesome" and nothing else. Some just said "I raised a glass in your honor." Others told me they were so busy they'd try to get to it later. And that's when I realized--we often prioritize kindness when it suits us.
Kindness isn't a task on your task list.
I learned that early on from my mom who would stop the car in the middle of a road to pick up her neighbor's trashcans that blew away. Or she'd notice the person behind her in line had only 3 items to her grocery cart full. Kindness isn't a one time thing, or an action. It's looking up from your own world to notice the role you play in the world around you. Kindness isn't about spending money or making a grand gesture.
Kindness is about finding small ways everyday to make someone else's life better instead of just worrying about your own.
Normally, I'd say forget the hashtag. I mean, that's what I am saying right? We don't need attention for it, we need to live it. But in a social media-dominated world, we need to use the power of the tools we have to try to get the attention of others. While I'm on my own personal mission to try to live a little bit differently in my next 40 years, if I can use a hashtag to remind others, I will.
So keep following #40ForGood. Every month on the 8th day, our family plans to do something good to help drive the spirit. When I hear something amazing, or read about goodness in the world, I'll share it with the hashtag. I hope you will too.
We'll continue operate our business with this mentality too.
We'll thank our clients for trusting us with genuine intention. We'll treat them like family. We'll turn down business or dollars when we know it doesn't make sense for someone to hire us, or we think the company can do it themselves. This was always the kind of place I wanted to work and it's my job to make sure we always operate this way.
I'm 40 for good now, and there's no turning back now.
Before we move forward though, a quick review of where #40ForGood made an impact this weekend:
And this is just a sampling of what others called to tell me about or what I know will be planned. Best. Birthday. Ever. Please keep it going and THANK YOU from the bottom of my old-lady heart.
Susan LaMotte is the founder of exaqueo, a workforce consultancy that helps companies build cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact exaqueo to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to scale the right way.