A Coaching Power Tool created by Robert Steg
(Healthy Lifestyle Coach, UNITED STATES)
In our everyday lives, we often get so wrapped up in our own thoughts and worries, that we forget about offering gestures of kindness to others. We have learned over time to disregard things and people around us, either in the interest of convenience or simply because we have judged them as not being worth the effort. Let us imagine for a second if everyone decided to do one gesture of kindness a day that he or she would not ordinarily do. Imagine the profound and everlasting effect this would have on our population at large. Let us ask ourselves how we feel when we do something kind for someone else? How do we feel when someone does something kind for us? There are people in the world who give of themselves automatically and people who give only if they think they are getting something in return. Which category do you fall into? Think carefully about that for a minute. Did you ever do something nice for someone or for some people, because you thought it might put you in a more favorable light? How did that feel? On the other hand, did you ever do something nice for another individual on impulse or when you didn’t believe that you would get anything in return? How did that feel? It might be important to take notice of what is present for you during these moments, so that you may appreciate the energy that you carry around with you and the energy you transfer on to others.
Imagine this example of kindness:
Bill had decided to go to the grocery store to do some extra shopping, because they were running a special promotion on getting some money off of one’s gas purchase for every dollar spent on groceries. He decided that he would stock up on items that were both on sale and that he could use at a future date in order to spend the necessary amount of money necessary to take advantage of the promotion. Off he went to the supermarket, where he picked up lots of meats that were on special as well as other miscellaneous items. Upon checking out, his total bill came to about 75.00, whereupon he received a coupon for 5.00 off his next purchase of 55.00 or more at that store. He remembered receiving those coupons often when checking out, but had always thrown them away, because rarely if ever, did he spend that much on groceries at any one time, since he lived alone. He then began to get angry, because he thought that perhaps he had one of those coupons sitting at home that he could have used towards his purchase this time and thereby save himself an additional 5.00. He also became further agitated on his way out of the store, when he discovered that there were several items in the store that gave him extra savings off of his gas bill simply by purchasing those items in and of themselves, independent of his total receipts. So out he went in a bad mood, because of all the additional savings he might have received had he planned better and had more awareness around these circumstances.
He proceeded to the gas station next door, which honored that special promotion. All the pumps were busy, which further annoyed him, because he had to park in an awkward position while waiting for a vacant pump. When a pump finally opened up, he filled his tank with gas saving 20 cents per gallon. As he was about to pull out of the gas station, he noticed a confused-looking old lady at the pump across from him. He started to pull out of the station when suddenly something came over him, and instead of leaving the gas station right away, he got out of the car and offered the old lady help with the pump. She accepted his offer, and he proceeded to assist her with both her supermarket savings card and her credit card. He then asked her if she needed any more help, and upon her saying no, he left. He immediately felt better about himself for offering the lady assistance, despite his preoccupation with his own trivial mishap. He then realized that a gesture of kindness goes a long way and that his situation was really not that important, if at all, in the overall scheme of things.
Bill will never know how that old lady felt the rest of the day after he helped her, and he will never know the ramifications of his small act of kindness. But multiply his small act of kindness by one thousand or perhaps by one million and you now have so many acts of kindness that there might be an energy shift on the entire planet! This may sound a bit surreal, but wouldn’t it definitely be worth a try? After all, there are some communities already like that, where helping one’s neighbor is automatic and everyone always bands together when there is a situation that warrants it. We have all watched the news and have seen natural disasters occur, often injuring people, leaving them homeless or even worse, dead. We almost take it for granted that under those dire circumstances, people will band together and afford assistance to these victims any way that they can. Often the red cross gets involved, donations are made from total strangers and these people are helped in ways that they might never have imagined. So this begs the question, does it actually require a disaster to bring out the best in people? What if we put our best foot forward every day and started out with a spirit of kindness automatically instead of a spirit of “disregard”? What effect would this have on those around us? How about the effect on ourselves? Often an act of kindness is simply a choice. It can happen in an instant. “Should I help this person out or should I simply go about my business as if they did not exist?” “Should I hold the door for this person, even though I might have to wait 5 seconds for them to arrive at it?” “Should I let this person in line even though I have been waiting at this traffic light for a while?”
We often talk about the “coaching lifestyle”. What is this lifestyle to which we are referring? Does it mean cursing our neighbors in private and then smiling at their faces? Does it mean cutting people off in traffic and then slowly and carefully pulling in our own neighborhoods? Does it mean gossiping about people we have decided we don’t like and then pretending that that is okay? I think most of us would agree that these scenarios make us sound less than stellar. But how often have we done any or all of these things and then not given it a second thought? It would be silly and futile for us to strive for perfection, and it would also be impractical and exhausting for us to spend our entire day only doing acts of kindness for others. But what if we made it our business to only do one act of kindness per day? What if we chose something that we would not ordinarily do? Perhaps we could call someone we had not spoken to in a long time and let them know that we were thinking about them. Perhaps we could acknowledge someone in our life that we often take for granted. Perhaps when we go to the grocery store, we could ask our neighbor if they need anything. Of course, the list could go on ad infinitum.