As many of you know, for as long as I can remember the signature on my email has read, “Please engage in daily random acts of kindness.” It is my motto, along with “small changes make big differences.”
One client of mine snidely insisted that I lose it when communicating with her staff (I ignored her), but besides that it has been overwhelmingly well received and I have gotten some wonderful feedback. People whom I have never met in person have emailed to share what random act of kindness my signature has inspired. I’ve gotten emails saying “I just walked an elderly person across the street,” “I complimented a stranger,” or just to say they love the message and are going to adopt it. It’s amazing how a simple thought can encourage a person to take action!
I recently re-read Danny Meyer “The Transforming Power of Hospitality In Business: Setting the Table.” The book is almost a decade old, however the inspirational way he approaches what he calls “enlightened hospitality” still touches me. It’s motivating to see a successful entrepreneur prioritize his employees first, with the belief that it will lead to a profitable and successful business. He’s right, it has – for those of you who aren’t burger fans, Shake Shack has just gone public on the NYSE and the Union Square Hospitality Group has a worth in the hundreds of millions. The repertoire of restaurants is darn good and each supports the local community (when I worked in gun violence prevention, USHG would always donate restaurant certificates to the auction). To me, that’s a win-win for everyone involved!
In the book, Mr. Meyer shares some examples of how he makes a point of reviewing the daily restaurant reservation logs and calling some first time customers celebrating an occasion, as well as regulars to thank them for their business. What really caught my eye was that he encourages each of the restaurants managers to “take 10 minutes a day to make 3 gestures that exceed expectations and take a special interest in guests.” When you add that up, it comes to about a 1,000 gestures per year, multiplied by the number of managers – WOW, what an impact!
It got me thinking about taking my “daily random acts of kindness” to the next level. Perhaps, by suggesting some categories for “acts” it will encourage more participation? I’ll call them “headings”, such as:
The “call your mother” heading –e,g., do something kind for a family member you know he/she would appreciate. Send a note, call, drop off some groceries, run an errand without being asked, or just offer a virtual hug. They’ll talk about it for days!
The “smile on the street” heading – e,g., make eye contact with a (harmless) stranger and say “hi”. Share an umbrella with someone who forgot theirs, offer someone a mint, respectfully flatter someone. You’ll make their day!
The “give kudos” headline – e,g., compliment a service provider, and/or better yet, tell their boss what a great job he/she is doing. Tell someone who has been working toward a goal that you’ve noticed a difference. Instead of just thinking it, say it out loud!
The “support your community” headline – e,g., volunteer your time, send a care package to a military person away from home, visit an animal shelter, make a donation to a favorite cause, shovel your neighbor's driveway (especially if you're in New England right now!). There’s nothing that makes you feel good like helping someone else!
You get the point. The bottom line is, we can literally change the world with small gestures. And studies show that making others happy increases your happiness quotient as well. So let’s do this!
What three gestures or even one gesture could you make today to make someone feel special?
The gestures you make will vary daily, and add up over time. You can even keep a log of them to reflect on your acts. What an amazing testament to you that will make!
I look forward to hearing how it goes!
Namaste (The Spirit within me salutes the Spirit in you),
Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™