Donna Smaldone
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Tuesday / August 09 / 2011

Are you fluent in random words of kindness?

You know those days when you feel like you’ve been hit by a Mack truck? When your body yanks the emergency brake in an attempt to stop you from running a-hundred-miles-an-hour? When you (and others) begin to liken you to a zombie?

Yesterday was one of those days for me.

I found myself at my printer’s, trying to keep my splitting headache from using my brains as a rope swing, when I heard a fellow customer comment on the Patagonia “Live Simply” t-shirt I was wearing. Since “live simply” has become somewhat of a mantra for me, it was easy to push zombie-hood aside and enthusiastically share that I purchased my new fave T at Fountain Square Outfitters in downtown Glens Falls, New York. (Proprietor props to Matt-n-Nancy Fuller. Good people).

After the customer left, the sales professional who had been helping her remarked to me, “You have a really nice voice.” {awww… what a nice thing to say. But she wasn’t done yet…}, “And it’s not just your voice, it’s the way you project it to express yourself. It’s really friendly and assuring.

Nancy Ziegler

And just like that, a few kind, simple, genuine words from a sales pro named Nancy “Nanc” Ziegler, smacked me square in the face creating a face-enveloping smile and an undeniable urge to hug her.

Understand this: Nanc had nothing to gain by speaking up and complimenting a random stranger.
▪   It was evident I was already being taken care of by another salesperson.
▪   She wasn’t vying for a customer service award from her boss because no one else was in the room.
—She simply made an observation and spoke it out loud.

The other key component here is, she didn’t stop at just the observation, “you have a nice voice”. She went on to explain why.

The observation made me smile. The why affected my outlook.

With just a few words, one random stranger’s life was made better because another took nine seconds to share them.

I trust you’re now pondering how you can give someone such a meaningful gift. Good! Regardless of your personality type, all you need to do is develop an attitude of openness toward creating unexpected surprises for others. Speak up when you observe something nice about a friend, family member, co-worker, neighbor, or random stranger – making sure you include the why. Not because of what you’ll get in return or even how the person will respond.

It’s important your quest is because of what you can give to others, not the other way around. Do you think it won’t matter? Are you unsure of how to say it? Do you think you’ll feel embarrassed? Remember, unless you’re mute, this is not about you.

Know this:
                  ▪ It will matter
                  ▪ Just say it
                  ▪ You’ll get over any embarrassment

SPEAK UP! Become fluent in random words of kindness. You never know how much your words will affect someone’s day, decision, or perhaps entire life.

Jot a note in the “Leave a Reply” section below to share how you’ve been affected by another person’s random words of kindness.

 

16 responses to “Are you fluent in random words of kindness?”

  1. Rick says:

    Donna, I love this post–a lot. Similar to a random act of kindness, it takes nothing more than a few moments of your time and a few well chosen words. I know I’ve been deeply moved by kind things people have said to me in the past. They were unexpected, which made them all the sweeter, and they really had a positive effect on my day.

    All of us can commit random words of kindness by living more consciously, more in the here and now, being present in our lives in every moment, and making the choice to see something positive in someone else. imagine how we could change other people’s lives–the energy on earth, really–if we made a habit of saying a few kind words to every person we interacted with.

    Thanks for helping me to think more consciously about how easily I can change other people’s days for the better.

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      I love how you said this, Rick. Thank you so much for your thoughts and insights. What a world it would be, indeed if we could truly embrace each moment, each person we were blessed to encounter.

  2. Debbie says:

    Love this!! <3

  3. Julie says:

    Donna,
    I love this blog! Just the other day, a friend from work posted on my facebook that she hadn’t seen me at work, and missed my hugs…. it TOTALLY made my day! And I still remember you telling me when we were maybe 14 &15 how my voice soothed you to sleep (weren’t you listening to my crazy story! LOL!) But the real point is… I still remember that you said that. I think another good point is… that when someone takes the time to “give” you random words of kindness… take a moment and sincerely thank them. I know you do this, Donna… but this was kind of hard for me to learn… being a self-concious,’ worried about what everyone was thinking’ teenager…. it took me a while to realize that some people truly were being kind and truly were complimenting me. Love you so much!!!! ~ Julie

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      You bring up a very valid point, Julie. When someone compliments you, the appropriate response is NOT, “oh stop it, no I’m not”, or “it’s nothing, really” or “well I can’t take any praise for that, it’s entirely due to…” The appropriate response is very simply…. “Thank you!”

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      …and I STILL think you have a beautiful, soothing voice. Just one of the reasons you’re such an amazing Mommy — and nurse!! (now you say, “thank you!”)

  4. Julie says:

    Oh, thank you so much, Donna!!! 🙂

  5. Carrie says:

    Nice!! I got up early to read your post, I’m glad I did. Thank you Donna my friend.

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      awww… thank you, Coug! I hope I accurately delivered in the written word the sneak preview I gave you verbally! Thanks so much for reading.

  6. Kim says:

    Now this is something I actually practice on a daily basis… You can see the happiness envelope “your target”, regardless of their age.. Hearing words of praise (no matter what the reason) touches people~ from infants to centenarians! It is easy enough to do and since being shy has never been a characteristic of mine…. I am happy to practice. This world seems to be getting faster, crazier, more hectic and sometimes, downright cruel. Random words of kindness are my way of “putting a little goodness back”…
    So, to one of the most caring people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, i say… carry on!

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      Delighted to hear you’re ‘pro-practice’, Kim! It’s unfortunate the decline we’ve seen in customer service and thus even more so in our personal, daily interactions. But if each one of us takes it one person, one interaction at a time, I’m convinced this world will be better for it (for them AND us!)

  7. De says:

    Love this! So simple, yet of such value. Though normally alone at home, I will be out around lots of peeps tomorrow & am going to make a conscious effort to share some random words of kindness.
    You did this to me one day you know; you left a brief post on my wall that happened to come on a day I really needed it. ♥ Meant so much to know someone cared that day… thank you again!

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      Thanks so much, De. You’re a good soul, being cognizant to share words of kindness with others. I’m delighted I was able to do this for you that day! Typically, the sharer only has a small inkling of how impactful her kind words are to the receiver. I love that!

  8. Cindy Brown says:

    Thanks Donna, this was inspiring.
    Could also mean she was hitting on you,(no offense Nanc) what do you think Skip? :o) by the way not a bad thing either Just saying, don’t rule out the possibility of the same sex making a move :o)
    Either way, if you are making a move or spreading kindness…Kudos!!!

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      I’m glad you found the post inspiring, Cindy. Ha… you’re right! The paths of kindness and flirting look very similar. Either way, her kind, simple, and genuine words truly made my day! Thanks so much for reading.

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