Meditation and Kindness, these two key attributes are scientifically proven to change the molecules in our minds.
I was reminded during my meditation class about a key attribute that we can all activate if we chose to. And guess what, it is scientifically proven to influence behavior and change the molecules in another person’s brain. How does this relate to leadership? Have you ever heard the saying lead by example? Did you know our behavior as leaders have the power to influence those around us more than anything else we can do? People are more apt to do what we do versus doing what we say. This is why kids do what we do not what we say, think about it.
When I lived in Toronto, I would head to a Buddhist temple to meditate every Wednesday evening. I loved it, as it was a place in the city where I could spend time practicing the art of mindfulness (which means reaching a mental state by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment). I have been meditating on and off for over 20 years, and I would say that mindfulness has made me a better listener and be present, which helps me deal with what is in front of me at any given moment. This impacts the way I show up at work and home.
During our meditation class, our teacher shared a reading from a monk in Korea who previously was a big finance guy living in London, UK. He moved to Japan for work. She shared that after attending a Dharma talk for the first time, this successful businessman decided to leave his career in finance and become a monk. Why? to pursue a life of mindfulness and teach others the same. This was fascinating to me, and I was curious to hear more about his story. She went on to read to us an excerpt from one of his talks which went like this.
“When we smile at others, it is scientifically a fact that it causes others to smile too. When we show kindness and others witness it, it is proven that those watching are more likely to act with kindness in the future. Kindness is something everyone can share, but we think of it as nothing. It gives through those that receive it and those that witness it. It is a source of power that unlike other powers has the ability to change the way others behave towards others and change their mental state.”
Working in retail servicing customers and leading teams to do the same for over three decades, this really resonated with me. Every day we teach our teams to engage with customers, share features and benefits, and how to sell. We provide feedback about what they can do differently through coaching. We provide coaching on UPT and how to improve results.
- When was the last time you shared with your team the influence they have on the world around them by showing this simple attribute, kindness?
- When was the last time you gave someone feedback on their ability to be kind?
- When was the last time you recognized someone on your team for being Kind?
- When was the last time you looked for someone to demonstrate this simple but effective behavior?
I can honestly say I had to pause and think about this; I can’t say I have ever recognized someone for their kindness directly or coached someone on this. I’m not sure why I haven’t. But if leading with kindness is a critical leadership quality that has such a ripple effect on the people around us. Then why isn’t this on a performance review? When leaders lead with kindness, teams will behave this way, and when a team acts with kindness, your customers will remember and when your customers are treated with kindness, they will, in turn, treat someone else with kindness. WOW, this is so powerful and creates such a positive ripple effect.
- Fact (Canada Stats) retail employs 11% of all Canadians. Which in 2016, was just over 2.1M humans as per stats Canada. US over 23M this is astonishing.
- The retail industry has a significant proportion of youth compared to other sectors due to the low educational and skill requirements needed to enter into a job. With this in mind and the scientific fact that kindness has on others who interact with kind people or watch kind people, why aren’t we talking about this more?
- With many mental health issues today and the sheer number and average age of the retail employee, being kind could make a huge difference.
Do you want to learn how to meditate? We partnered with an international wellness coach to create a meditation course for retail leaders. LEARN HOW TO MEDITATE.
I genuinely believe people that work in retail are a powerful positive force in the world. When you think about this and the power of influence one act of kindness can have on another, then I would argue that when you work in retail, you have the ability to shape the future behaviors of others more than you realize. Watch Sarah and April chat more about the benefits of meditation.
To you, it might just be a part-time job through school; to you, it might be a second job to help pay the bills until you get the job you really want to. It might be your career because you love it so much. To you, it could be a stopgap en route to your dream role. To you, it might be a summer job to save for something. Whatever it is, remember this. You are the future shapers, the global community of influences, the teams, the leaders, the people that carry something so powerful all day, every day.
The ability to be KIND.
As I was traveling to New York for the weekend, I was sitting at the train station waiting for the train into the city when a man randomly sitting next to me struck up a conversation; he asked me which is a common question.
What do you do for a living?
I thought about it for a second and said. I teach people to be kind towards others.
And he said… he had never heard of such a job but thought it sounded important.
Have an awesome week, and if you are meditating high five, and if you want to try it – why not start with our ten-minute meditation? What have you got to lose?
Founder & President of retailu.ca
April is the author of ‘The Positive Effect” grad your copy HERE; in this book, April shares her story and leads with awareness to be a more effective leader.