I was encouraged by Stacey Pyke, Nova Scotia Health Authority and Sarah Lampson, Executive Director, CARA to write to our members about my ongoing kindness campaign. My hope is that my story might inspire others to implement kindness programs of their own at their home institutions.
The rudimentary beginning of my informal kindness campaign started a few years ago just by fluke. I had noticed that after buying flowers on my day off for my mentor of many years, and dropping them off to her office, that I felt really good about doing this. And more surprisingly, it just changed my energy completely and it made me instantly forget about the really bad day that I had at work the day before. This got me thinking about how I could use this lesson learned to change negative energy into positive energy in my workplace.
My kindness campaign started out slowly as a bit of an experiment. After my initial success, I waited until I had another negative incident occur in the workplace and the very next day I went out and bought two dozen doughnuts for the IT guys at the help desk. Again, the effect was instant. I felt great and it wiped the negative images of the day before instantly from my mind. With two successes behind my belt, I started to see a pattern here, and I was slowly beginning to understand that I could use kindness as a weapon to counter negativity in the workplace.
Since that realization, I have continued my experimenting and my kindness campaign is the product of this learning process. Over the last few years, I have taken my kindness campaign one step further. I now plan ahead to think of what kind things I would like to do and to whom. When I have a bad day or an awful week or an unpleasant incident occurs then I am ready and prepared to go out and do kind things for other people. In fact, now I don’t dread when something goes wrong and nasty words maybe said as I can see beyond the incident itself and see it as a trigger to kick start another act of kindness to make someone’s day. In my experience, whether it is grabbing someone a cup of coffee from Tim Hortons, or buying a coworker an inexpensive essential oils diffuser to show your appreciation for all her hard work, or picking up a dozen muffins for the staff at the blood work clinic, kindness can go a long way to brighten everyone’s day.
My kindness campaign is constantly growing and evolving. In the last few months, I have started to nominate colleagues, in my college and outside my college, at my institution and outside my institution, for awards. It takes time and a bit of courage and preparation to read the criteria for the award and organize and/or write letters of support for the nominees but it has taken my kindness campaign to a whole new level. It is so rewarding to see your colleagues receive acknowledgement and gratification for all their hard work by receiving a nomination for an award and/or by actually winning the award.
Until I started my kindness campaign, it wasn’t always easy to keep my passion working in a negative environment. I am so grateful to have learned that kindness is a powerful tool to combat negativity in the workplace. It is like a magic wand and it can transform negative energy into positive energy. This might sound too simple for you but it works. I leave you with the following thoughts. Do you equip yourself everyday with this powerful weapon when you go to work? What simple acts of kindness could you engage in to infuse some positive energy into your workplace? What could you do to implement a kindness campaign at your own institution?