13 Nov How to Get Ahead When Nobody is Watching
You’re busy. You’re stressed out. Some things aren’t going your way. Sound familiar? That’s how we all feel sometimes, and that’s certainly how I felt two years ago, the day I met Sheldon Yellen for the first time.
I was interviewing Sheldon, the CEO of global property restoration company Belfor, who had just appeared on TV’s Undercover Boss. I was behind on a couple of deadlines at work, and I hadn’t recently had the time with my kids that I so cherished. Despite the fact that I was supposed to be interviewing Sheldon, he insisted upon asking me questions to get to know me better, and somehow I shared my stress with him.
I’ll never forget the advice Sheldon shared with me right then and there:
Do the right thing, when nobody is watching.
“Be kind,” Sheldon said, “and you’ll feel better. Be kind to the people at work, and be kind to the people you love, and be kind to strangers. When you’re by yourself, write a kind letter to someone, ‘just because’. You’ll feel better, and the crazy thing is, that’s how you end up getting ahead.”
Coming from just anyone, I might not have taken that advice very seriously. How does kindness help you get ahead? But coming from the leader of a global billion dollar company with over 6,000 employees? I had to take notice.
We all try to be kind everyday, but right then and there, I began more actively trying to institute kindness into my life – be it through random acts of kindness, kind words to a teammate, caring acts to a client, or kind handwritten notes to my colleagues, friends and family.
Two years later, I can’t report a direct correlation to my getting ahead – I’ve been very fortunate and successful over the last two years, but it’s been impossible to prove a direct correlation between kindness and success. Still, I can report that kindness always leads to improving my mood, and an improved mood often leads to improved productivity, and that often leads to success! The thing is, whether or not kindness helps you get ahead, this much is true:
Every time you’re actively kind, you’ll feel better.
Today is global World Kindness Day, and all around the world, thousands of organizations and people are celebrating by actively working on being kinder to others. Sheldon and his team at Belfor are celebrating with a #LettersofKindness campaign on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Click on the link, write a letter of kindness, and Sheldon will actually print it and mail it or hand-deliver it to someone in need of some support!
You’ll immediately feel better – and who knows, you just might turn your day (or week, or month) around, and get ahead.
Yes, it’s easy to be cynical, and remain busy, and focused on yourself and the many tasks at hand. Then again, is there any downside to kindness?
Happy World Kindness Day, and here’s to hoping you celebrate with Sheldon and me – today and everyday.