Follow 5 steps to make kindness a habit

Allison Clarke is a Certified Speaking Professional and is principal of Allison Clarke Consulting.

Jathan Janove: You recently wrote a book, The Kindness Habit. What inspired you to write it?

Allison Clarke: I have always been fascinated with the kindness and energy during the holiday season. People tip more, talk to strangers, have food they love, tell people how they feel, connect face-to-face with people, decorate their homes, play festive music and other fun traditions. Then… February hits… all of that energy goes away… people are not as friendly, sometimes stressed about debt and weight they gained over the holiday… not as kind or friendly. I started a 90- day challenge in December 2014 to prove we can be kind all year long. I received coverage from the media and KIND bar heard about and reached out .. It was crazy to be getting this attention.. just by being kind. Four years later, I have turned the 90-day challenge into a daily habit.

Jathan Janove: Why is kindness important?

Allison Clarke: Plato’s quote says it best- Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. We live in a time when loneliness is at an all-time high. Technology is a valuable tool and it is doing more disconnecting than connecting. There is also research that productivity goes up by 43%, 86% more and 51% less likely to leave a company when people feel valued and appreciated. Research also shows that being kind to others is one of the best things you can do if you are down.

Jathan Janove: What are some of your favorites in terms of practicing kindness on others?

Allison Clarke: Kindness can be an online review, letting someone in traffic, holding the door, smiling at others, writing a hand-written note, celebrating milestones of others, picking up trash, leaving a bigger tip, tipping your trash people in another month besides December, paying for an expired parking meter, telling someone they have something in their teeth, tape money on a vending machine to surprise someone, turn off your technology and be present, donate items you no longer use to a charity of your choice and volunteering your time to a cause that you connect to.

Jathan Janove: Have others been impacted by your kindness work? If so, please share a couple of examples.

Allison Clarke: Yes- I have been inspired by my thousand plus of kind acts! I love to give strangers fun prizes for best customer service, best smile, best parking job….. it goes back to Plato- the people who are most touched are the people who were having a bad day and I had no idea. Some have gotten tears in their eyes and told me I had NO idea how much they needed this today. Some of my awards I have given people have ended up in company newsletters. The reality is, people are craving being seen and appreciated. When we can start to look for what people are doing well and appreciate out loud- we can change attitudes, energy and even lives.

Jathan Janove: For readers inspired by this interview, what concrete step do you recommend they take next?

Allison Clarke: Reduce: Stress, anger, loneliness, turnover, apathy and depression.

Improve: Attitude, productivity, creativity, relationships, and bottom line.

Follow these 5 steps:

  1. Stop during your daily routine.
  2. Look up and notice your surroundings.
  3. Smile and take a deep breath.
  4. Appreciate one person each day.
  5. Remember your positive impact on others.