What does kindness have to do with getting stuff done?

I have this big speaking gig coming up in a few weeks.

I’m really excited about it and wrote a brand new talk for the occasion. It’s a talk that took me a week and 39 years to write, approximately. I’ve given a lot of talks and I’m proud of all of them all. But this one is the most genuine expression of what I have learned during my 39 years (yes I am turning 40 in a few months OMG!) of dark times and bright times and learning how to come out of dark times and into bright times, paired with my study of happiness, yoga, Buddhism, mindfulness, and more.

What I’m trying to say is that it was kind of a big deal.

When I sent it off to the organizers of this event, I felt this enormous sense of accomplishment and joy — it feels pretty incredible to write something which I feel is so true to what I want to share with the world. I was flying high.

So when I got the email with my “slightly edited presentation to fit better with the format of the event” and saw how different it looked, my heart sank. The content was there, but the look and feel was so different. Was the format I came up with — full of bright colors and bold words and images — not as impactful as I thought? Would I be able to change it back? Can I be OK with it as is?

I wrote back to the person in charge of working with me on my presentation and expressed my concern as gently and kindly as I could. We ended up going back and forth for days, with him at times spending more than an hour making changes.

I felt bad about all this extra work on his part, but I’d just read Wayne Dyer’s memoir, in which he talks about the times he didn’t see his work all the way through and make sure that his authenticity and intention were truly carried out, and I felt it paramount that the slides for my talk reflect both the content and the feeling I wanted to leave with the audience.

This morning I got the final presentation from the organizers and felt it was in a place that truly reflected the spirit I had intended. We found solutions to the few concerns they had and the person working with me even went to extra trouble to figure out how to embed a video link in a more elegant way than I’d planned.

I thanked him for all of his extra work and he told me: “You were always so kind and agreeable, I’m more than happy to do it.”

There are so many times when I am reminded that when we are kinder to each other, magic happens. People go out of the way to help you, including work extra hours on your presentation to help you get it done. The world seems less harsh and in a hurry. Annoying or painful things, like traffic or long lines at the coffee shop seems less so.

What if we could be a little kinder than we feel we need to be? What kind of magic would happen then?IMG_5110

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