I had an idea. Seeing examples of what didn’t work at various jobs, a thought germinated. I wanted to nurture a kinder, gentler world. But how could I take such an esoteric concept and make it tangible? I had to figure out what kindness looked like first.
I started with “what if” scenarios and decided on “what if you created a workplace with kindness as the main currency of business instead of profits?” Immediately, my saboteurs clamoured for attention with reasons why it was a crazy idea. Despite the noise, I chose to align myself with my Leader Within instead and let my idea resonate internally.
To find examples of kindness, I looked in many places such as Jacinda Ahern’s well-being budget that measures well-being not wealth or economic growth.
Remembering my project management job where I implemented employee recognition programs, I thought of the ways companies recognize and reward employees for practising their values.
I remembered the friend who unexpectedly dropped off flowers and jujubes last winter – that’s kindness in action.
Then I brainstormed ideas on how to achieve this future state. I would hire kind candidates, develop an organizational structure that reinforced kindness, and create business tools that acknowledged kindness every day.
I considered the barrage of unhealthy behaviours and attitudes today. They weaken the quality of human connections. The results show up daily – narcissism, anxiety, depression. I wanted to nip them “in the bud” with this new vision of kindness.
I ended up creating a Kindness Blueprint that I used in my final HR role and that I apply today in a different context as a career coach.
Ideas appear as uniquely as people. Each of you use preferred neural pathways in the brain based on how you think. I get my best ideas by walking, reading, and writing. Stop for a moment to consider when and where you get your best ideas. Steven Spielberg gets them driving on the freeway. Will Arnett gets them in the shower (this one is surprisingly common!).
You may wonder how to get in the right state of mind for an idea to pop up. My recommendation is boredom. Yes, you read that right!
In Pay Attention, I talked about the inability to focus because of shortened attention spans. Jumping from task to task does the same function. By distracting yourself, not only do you prevent focusing but you also avoid reflection. Telling yourself you don’t reflect because you don’t have the time for it, you end up feeling frazzled instead of centred.
Letting Ideas Take Root
Boredom is a great cure. When you’re bored or on autopilot, the mind relaxes and starts making connections it wouldn’t otherwise. That’s what reading potboilers, driving on freeways, and taking showers share in common. Give yourself time to do mindless tasks or, even better, nothing. That’s where ideas take root.
Ideas change the world. Without Bill Gates’s idea of a computer in every home, you would not be reading this online newsletter today. While you may think ideas are for “those” people, lofty individuals like Bill Gates, recognize that outsourcing idea-making to the chosen few is just avoidance. The truth is simpler. You have a creative spark within you waiting to be lit.
What are you waiting for? No one will light your spark for you. It’s up to you. I believe you’re reading this today because you want to make a difference. It all starts with one idea. Sow your seed.