Early this summer, my foot twisted on a bumpy edge of pavement, sending me sprawling.
Goofily, I might add.
This humiliating incident happened at our local farmers’ market, just moments after we’d stopped at a food truck. The last thing I saw before I hit the ground were multiple layers of my breakfast sandwich sailing through the air, in all different directions.
Like I said: Humiliating.
Before I had time to think, a security guard had an arm under my elbow, pulling me up. A food truck vendor handed me some wet paper towels and a bottle of cold water. Passing shoppers asked if I was ok – with real concern. One even offered to replace my breakfast sandwich.
Though my fall was months ago, these small acts of kindness have stayed with me. I’ve probably told this story at least a dozen times since then, even though I’m the bumbling clown – the one who can’t seem to stay on her feet.
That this story makes me happy, even though it’s embarrassing, reinforces new findings about kindness. We know random acts of kindness make recipients happy. But people who perform these acts often underestimate how much it’s appreciated.
I don’t have data to prove it, but from my experience, I believe this is also true in the business world. Here in the U.S., especially, the expectations for quality and speed can be stratospheric. That means, more often than not, “work” is stressful enough to make us all dread Mondays.
Competition between employees can make the workplace even less desirable. For most of my career, I collaborated with co-workers in an environment more collegiate than competitive. That’s not to say there wasn’t any competition at all. But we all seemed intent on working together to achieve the same goal. We loved what we did, and we were proud of our work.
It took me a while after I left Corporate America to decide exactly what type of “workplace” I wanted to create for myself. From the start, I knew I had incredible power as a freelancer. I didn’t have to say yes to every engagement. I learned where my strengths were, what type of work I loved and how to find it, and who I wanted to spend time with.
That’s why, as we launched Version A earlier this year, I decided money couldn’t be our only goal. While that may seem at odds with capitalism, I’d like our business and workplace to reduce the stress levels of our clients and team members alike.
Dare I say it?
Work should be an enjoyable aspect of your life.
- Deadlines shouldn’t stress you out.
- Everyone should have colleagues they can rely upon.
- Quality should be a rule – not an exception.
I firmly believe kindness helps businesses deliver exceptional work and service. So I’ve set three goals for this company:
- Take the stress out of content marketing for all of our clients. We aim to deliver top-quality content without any of the headaches. We may not get it right the first time, but we’re going to work the hardest to ensure we nail it more often than not. And we guarantee we’ll do all the heavy lifting, so you don’t have to.
- Ensure flexibility and life/work balance for everyone on our team. One of the most invaluable lessons I’ve learned in my career: The best way to create loyal teams is to consider their needs and be kind. So, if you want to spend the summer working from an island in the Pacific (which one of our writers recently did) – we’ll support that.
- Make kindness the driving force in everything we do – even beyond our day-to-day workplace. Over the next few months, I’ll share more about our efforts to make the world a happier place by investing in kindness.
In other words, we’re thoughtfully putting kindness at the heart of our business. There’s nothing random about this. We want this to be our way of operating – a sustainable and constant source of happiness for us, our clients, and our team.