Blog Post Cover Art: Two hands holding another in sympathy with blog overlay text "What's Your Kindness Quotient?"

 … The other day, I was listening to the radio, and the host began the segment by asking, “What’s your KQ?” After a few seconds of silence, she went on to explain that KQ is Kindness Quotient. Understanding, and cultivating kindness is a growing trend. I’m 100% in.

Understanding KQ

For years, in the business world, we’ve heard about terms about our IQ (Intelligence) and EQ (Emotional) resilience. We’ve examined grit. Studies have been done on leadership capacity. You can get a degree in change management.

But recently, I came across the idea of KQ (Kindness Quotient) while listening to the radio, and I’m 100% in favor of this.

… being kind is linked to being happy. In her research, Sonya Lyubomirsky, a University of California-Riverside psychologist, found that practicing acts of kindness (as well as expressing thankfulness, gratitude, and forgiveness ) was common among happy people. Kindness seems to have a rebound effect, creating an endless loop of positivity …

(Source) Blog Post Cover Art: Two hands holding another in sympathy with blog overlay text "What's Your Kindness Quotient?"

I’m a huge fan of gratitude and think that consciously expressing thankfulness creates and generates more to be thankful for.

Apparently, kindness works the same way.

Intentionally expressing an act of kindness to someone generates more kindness in the world.

Random Acts of Kindness

As a child, I remember the call of a well-intentioned teacher urging me to “Go RAK someone today.” That is, engage in a random act of kindness. Their belief was that if I could do that, I would feel good, someone else would benefit, and the world would be a better place.

We even kept a RAK chart so we could see who RAK’d the most people in a given week.

Maybe she was on to something …

And now more than ever, the world seems to need a little bit of kindness.

Societal unrest.

Political Turmoil

COVID Pandemic

Fear-Filled News Cycles

Natural Disasters

The world appears to be in trouble.

And while I’m not entirely sure what kindness could do to stop a hurricane, I know kindness could help solve the rest of the problems on the list … and go a long way in recovering from a hurricane.

What’s Your Kindness Quotient (KQ)

So, what’s your KQ level?

Can you tell?

I’d like to think I’m a kind person, and show generosity, compassion, grace, and positivity in the world, but do I?

How can I tell?

In coaching, we talk a lot about investing our time and energy into the right pursuits. During one activity, we look at ways to analyze our calendar and our task list to see if our values and our time are lining up.

In many ways, we can measure kindness in the same way. Can you look back on your time, and just like you scheduled time to exercise, have dinner, return emails, and attend your kid’s practice, did you schedule a time to be kind?

Did you keep it front of mind?

Do you challenge yourself to grow and expand your capabilities?

In a world focused on division, dis-unity, and discord, focus instead on being kind, generous, compassionate, and proactively positive.

So, what’s your kindness quotient?

Life in the garden blog post cover image. A row of vegetables planted in dirt.

I have spent much of my life in the garden. What I have discovered in the soil holds true in my soul: the time spent pruning, watering, and nurturing is never wasted.

Life in the Garden

As a kid growing up on the plains of central Kansas, I spent much of my time in the garden. My family grew a fair amount of our own food, and it was usually one of my daily tasks to spend a certain amount of time clearing the weeds from the produce.

Strawberries.

Rhubarb.

Tomatoes.

Carrots.

Beans

Cucumbers.

Peas

Corn.

We grew a whole variety of food. However, it wouldn’t take long in the humid days of summer to see weeds grow up right along with the crops.

So for thirty minutes every day, I’d be out there making sure only the good stuff grew.

As I got older, I started to hate it more. As a teenager, there were thousands of other places I’d rather be than in the garden doing work. Life in the garden blog post cover image. A row of vegetables planted in dirt.

Now, as an adult, I wish I had more time to devote to my own garden. The thirty minutes a week are far too few.

However, my time in the garden has made me realize the many ways I want to cultivate a fruitful and bountiful personal life.

Here are three takeaways from my life in the garden.

1.) Remove the bad, harmful, and damaging weeds.

I’ve already mentioned my disdain for gardening as a child. Part of it was my allergies. They were so bad growing up, my eyes would swell shut and I found it difficult to breathe. There were many days where a family member would have to escort me around the house because I couldn’t see, my eyes crusted over with goop.

If it were like that inside the house, you can imagine how bad actually having my face near the plants.

However, in those brief moments where I could concentrate and focus on getting something accomplished on a row of cucumbers, I always took satisfaction in seeing progress.

Weeding gave two primary benefits: clear signs of work done, and better yields.

In our own lives as leaders, we see the same benefit. When we weed out the poor, distracting, bad, harmful, and damaging ‘weeds’ of our lives, we see clear progress and get better yields.

Our souls are full of many bad weeds.

Pride.

Arrogance

Destructive relationships.

Bad habits.

False mental beliefs.

Spending time in coaching, counseling, mentorship, business alliances, and other thought-provoking and challenging ideas weeds out these self-perceived limits and gives the good, nurturing fruit of leadership space to grow.

2.) Prune and nurture the good.

As you clear out the weeds, you give the good fruit space to grow. At the same time, this good stuff needs to be pruned, fed, and watered. Carefully cutting off areas of less productivity and overgrowth gives the main plant more time to thrive.

In the garden, watering and fertilizing your plants also leads to bigger yields.

For the garden of your soul, the same beneficial steps need to be taken.

Limit the amount of ‘good’ in your life to pursue the ‘great.’

Take control of your calendar to get more of the right things done (and not just more things).

Limit (and eliminate) time with people who drain you, your time, and your resources.

Spend time with people who bring your more life, vitality, abundance, and joy.

3.) Cultivate beneficial species together.

A lesson I learned early from my life in the garden is the power of beneficial and antagonistic plants. In my raised beds, I made the mistake of planting tomatoes and cabbage too close together.

While it seems like no big deal, in terms of plant production, it was a very big deal.

My main tomato plants, living next to beneficial plants, grew and thrived. I was harvesting tomatoes and cucumbers on a regular basis.

The tomatoes that were planted near the cabbage resulted in both plant species struggling. The cabbage never had more than a few leaves, and the tomatoes stopped growing after a foot and never produced fruit.

Thankfully, I was able to transplant the cabbage, and now both are thriving (well away from each other).

Plants need the right environment to survive. This includes their relationships with other plants.

In our own lives, we have the same problems. When we are too near negative thinking, small-mindedness, hypocrisy, anger, judgment, fear, and limiting beliefs, we start to adapt to the same. Just like in my garden, there is a general failure to thrive when we are in the wrong environments.

Removing that negativity from your life and exposing yourself to like-minded people and beneficial thoughts results in more of the same.

Expose yourself to positive and be positive.

What about you? How have you seen one of your hobbies benefit you in your professional life?

A shadow cast on a brick wall of a giant in armor with overlay text slay your giants while you're young. Blog post cover art.

That’s why it’s so important to slay your giants while you’re young.

Her words hit me like a ton of bricks.

Not only is she incredibly beautiful and funny, she’s also really, really smart.

I’m lucky she’s my wife.

We were talking about the importance of marked leadership growth and reflecting on the life of King David in the Bible.

Setting the Stage

I was walking her through a talk I was getting ready to give, and we were reflecting on what David’s life might have been like as he neared the end of his life.

A Forgotten boy to a ruler.

From shepherd to king.

Giant-slayer to sage. A shadow cast on a brick wall of a giant in armor with overlay text slay your giants while you're young. Blog post cover art.

Desert dweller to palace ruler.

As he neared the end of his life, he had to spend time reflecting on all that had transpired. A surprising amount is written about David in the Bible. We see his faith and folly as he is featured across the pages of Scripture.

Someone described as “a man after God’s own heart” has killed giants, led a country, been to war, stolen another man’s wife, committed murder, written songs, and experienced rebellion and treason from his own family.

Throughout it all, he remained committed to God and in trying to understand how to lead well.

And as my wife and I were discussing this, we were talking about the many ways in which his experiences of God may have changed, but the need behind them hadn’t.

That was true throughout the Israelite story.

It’s true for us as well.

Having Experiences

We all have a quest and desire to connect with God.

Unfortunately, we also want to keep having that same experience.

When the Israelites that saw God in the pillar of fire still wanted to see him like that. The problem is that as circumstances change, so do the experiences.

That’s why it’s important to slay your giants while you’re young.

David experienced God when he slew the giant Goliath. But he was never supposed to become a perpetual giant killer. Once he accomplished that mission, it was time for a new one.

Slay Your Giants While You’re Young

As leaders, we are all called to progress.

Grow.

Adapt.

Change.

Overcome.

In new ways, every day.

Far too many of us, however, take pride in slaying the same giants over and over.

Battling with addiction instead of getting help.

Hiding behind our fears and weaknesses instead of soliciting a mentor to overcome.

Engaging in the same pointless battles again and again.

I’m reminded of a story I heard once. An elderly leader was being interviewed about his life and influence. Having just passed 80 years old, he had a lot of wisdom to share with the crowd.

The interviewer asked him, “What’s one battle you regret not winning?”

Immediately, the 80-year old replied, “Porn.”

At 80, he was still trying to slay the same giant as his teenage self.

Instead of being able to be a person of wisdom to his community, he was stuck in a cycle of shame.

Don’t fall victim.

Slay your giants while you’re young.

foggy forest with overlay text do you want to change, blog post cover art

In coaching, I’m willing to do anything I can to help you reach your goals. The one thing I can’t do, however, is make you want to change. That’s why I ask all potential clients, Do you want to change?

The Origin of the Question

While walking the earth, Jesus performed lots of miracles, engaged in teaching the masses, and healed people. In one such instance, he asked the man, Do you want to get well?

It seems rather odd, that question.

Who wouldn’t want to get well?

Well, it turns out, quite a few of.

In fact, quite a few of us like being sick in one way or another.

We feel comfortable where we are stuck. In the small beliefs we hold. We see it in the minor discomforts of life, that one way or another, we are all stuck and most of us like being there.

It’s safe.

Comfortable.

It’s also killing us slowly.

Jesus asking, do you want to get better expresses the true desires of our hearts.

Do you want to let that burden go?

Are you willing release your doubt and fear?

Do you want to experience something different?

Because if you do, he offers to help. But if you like where you’re at, he’s also willing to leave you there.

In coaching, I’ve seen the same thing happen.

Do You Want To Change?

Whenever I meet with a potential client, we spend a little bit of time getting to know each other. I need them to trust me and give them space in our first session to ask anything they want about me. I’ll disclose (within reason) whatever the need to feel comfortable.

It’s also a time for me to see where they are at. It’s a chance to make sure they are willing to engage in the process with both their head and their heart.

And one question I ask everyone is, “Do you Want To Change?” foggy forest with overlay text do you want to change, blog post cover art

I can do a lot for you: provide excellent coaching, recommend books and other resources, give you extra time, and other tools at my disposal.

The one thing I can’t do for you is make you want to change.

That’s the one thing you have to bring to the relationships: you have to want to change. To get better. To experience life anew.

If you’re unwilling to do that, there’s really not a lot I can do.

But if you honestly bring that one thing to the table, everything is suddenly a possibility.

Relationships renewed and restored.

Businesses thrive.

Health improved.

Lives impacted.

All because you agreed to show up fully in the world and agreed to change.

But it all starts with the question:

Do you want to change?

Girl biting limp and thinking, wondering how she can stay curious

I may not always learn new things, but when I do, it’s because I stay curious.

My blatant rip-off of the most interesting man, may not be a quote that makes me famous, but it does provide the foundation for the growth needed in life.

Curiosity is a habit and a mindset that keeps leaders humble and gives them the ability to assess a situation, appreciate perspective, and continue towards growth.

Stay Curious

“I know how to do it!”

I’ve heard that phrase more than a few times from my kids, only to watch them struggle with tying their shoes, washing the dishes, folding their laundry, or any other number of tasks.

It’s a common problem, right?

As much as I’ve seen it in my kids, I’ve also noticed that problem in myself.

In my almost ten years of professional coaching, I’ve come across similar problems in people. I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve coached who were unhappy in their jobs and looking to make a career change. Girl biting limp and thinking, wondering how she can stay curious

And when I assume I know what the answer is, I’ve always been wrong. When I’ve remained curious and allowed the client to dictate the direction of the conversation, not only do they come to a better conclusion, but I learn something new in the process as well.

My ability to stay curious benefits both me and my clients.

As leaders, staying curious benefits us, and those we lead.

Leadership Curiosity

Leadership curiosity manifests anytime we set aside our preconceived notions and explore possibilties with our teams.

In short, we stay curious when we ask questions.

  • What would that look like?
  • Who do we know that can help?
  • How can I serve you?
  • Where can we find the answers?
  • What makes this important?
  • Are we willing to fight for this?

The more questions we ask, the more curious we are, the better the end result will be.

Leadership curiosity includes our team members, equips them for the journey ahead, inspires action, and leverages critical thinking skills.

How will you stay curious this week?