Ok… I’m getting on a train going to London Paddington from Chippenham (England). In front of me are several elderly folks with heavy luggage. I offer to step aside as the train stops and help them get their luggage on the train. They are grateful. I enjoy helping and am clearly the beneficiary of giving a little kindness.
Later, I’m on Kensington High Street in London. I find a Starbucks and am about to enter when a group of four people appear. I open the door and let them in before me. They look at me with suspicion, like, “Why doesn’t this guy want to order his coffee before us? He’s not in that much of a hurry!? Why?!” I notice shock and concern is expressed by the four.
As you might have been able to figure out, I travel a lot and notice that it’s mostly an “every person for him/herself” situation on all transportation activity. So often I’ve seen people struggling with heavy bags off luggage racks or the overhead bins… sometimes to their physical detriment. Therefore, I have started a personal campaign to help someone with a bag every trip I’m on. I do not want to patronize anyone but when I see people struggling, I try and lend a hand.
Opening doors? Letting people in line? Being kind. Being generous of spirit without wanting anything in return? These are actions completely in our control. And we get the benefit and goodwill without asking for it. Maybe that’s why Liberty Mutual has built an entire advertising platform around responsibility and doing the right thing.
In an office environment, it could mean helping a person struggling with a project, bringing an extra glass of water for a colleague at a meeting, opening doors for people going from one corridor to another, and ultimately just being present and aware of your teammates and surroundings. Where you go provides opportunities to practice Character every day.