Why Kindness Matters with the Amazing Steffi Black (guest blogger)

So thrilled to feature the #XtraordinaryGameChanger, Steffi Black, as our guest blogger this week. She is a #spreadthekindness force for good and a leader who consistently Suits Up to make this world a better place in the sandbox, the boardroom, the classroom and around the water cooler. And the ripple effect this has is immeasurable. This week she shares Why Kindness is so essential.
We hope it inspires you to Don that Cape of Magnificence, soar in new ways and engage in Missions of the We sort. Steffi is here to help you with those wings… 😉
InJoy, jenniferSteffiBlack Logo

Kindness is Contagious. When we’re kind, we inspire others to be kind, and it actually creates a ripple effect that spreads outwards to our friends’ friends’ friends — to three degrees of separation.” David R. Hamilton, Ph.D.
It’s a proven fact: Most environments can benefit from leadership that cares and empowers others to do so as well. My work as a kindness advocate via #spreadthekindness includes encouraging pro-social behavior in both the children’s playground as well as the adult ones.
Why Kindness Matters in Schools: It can be an overwhelming environment: crowded hallways, stern faces, loud lunchrooms and occasional aggressive behavior. Our children leave their usually secure home and venture into a world where each child has a different personality. Can they all be expected to get along? Hardly. What can help with the transition at any age: A simple dose of kindness.
How important is kindness to young children? Numerous scientific studies show that acts of kindness result in significant health benefits, both physical and mental for the doer and the receiver!  Kindness makes us happier, gives us healthier hearts, strengthens the immune system, makes for better and stronger relationships and, as mentioned above, kindness is certainly contagious. Promoting it creates a better classroom, and, in turn, a warmer school environment.
Yes, educational facilities that implement a strong emphasis on character education can make all the difference in a child’s experience outside the home. Many reasons can be listed and one main one is feeling safe, secure and cared for in their environment. And, yes, kids even work harder as academic performance improves too.
In a well-known Vancouver study from Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, it was shown that children who performed three acts of kindness a week for four weeks experienced an increase in peer acceptance afterwards. Pro-social behavior also increases well being and the tone of a classroom can be improved. The study states: “Increasing peer acceptance is a critical finding, as it is related to a variety of academic and social outcomes including reduced likelihood of being bullied.” It goes on further to suggest that “teachers and interventionists can build on this study by introducing intentional pro-social activities into classrooms and recommending that such activities be performed regularly and purposefully.”
And, when the curriculum includes an emphasis on kind actions it has the ripple effect of a warmer school environment that emphasizes EQ not just IQ.
Why Kindness Matters in the Workplace
Can today’s businesses learn from a warmer environment in the workplace? You bet your bottom dollar they can!
As a passionate Kindness Advocate, I work with corporations to #spreadthekindness by creating tailored plans emphasizing kind act activities often geared to the International RAKWeek. As leader Julia Rivard, Partner, Norex.ca, shared after her company’s involvement: “…the RAK week really helped us all place an emphasis on what we could do the ‘make the day’ of the people around us just a little bit better….The acts of kindness seemed to snowball leading to a week filled with positivity that was outside what any of us had imagined. I heard from more than one staff member that it was the best week they had had at Norex and that’s saying something.”
You see warm actions towards others actually makes us feel good on a biochemical level as it raises the brain’s natural version of morphine and heroin – you get what is called a “Helper’s High” and people have more engagement when their environment is an open, transparent and resilient environment where people are motivated to work in a collaborative and encouraging way. Those that have been known to have a warm, inclusive environment include Google, Pitney Bowes, Eileen Fisher and Juilliard.
And, finally, it’s always nice to leave with a word of wisdom from someone more informed than myself: In today’s world we often emphasize big events but there is grace and power in the small acts of kindness. Aldous Huxley, a philosopher and writer who studied human nature for over two decades, was asked what was the best way to transform human beings. He knew the interviewer would want something heavy and profound, but, after a thoughtful pause, he simply replied that the way we make a difference is to be a “little kinder.”
Sounds like a smart plan to me. Who’s on board? I’ll bring my #STK spirit and help you ‘spread your kindness wings!’
Life/Career Coach & Kindness Advocate for Schools www.steffiblackcoaching.com
You can reach Steffi via her website or check out our feature of her amazing self n’ works on The Wall of Awe. So honored to have her as a member of our League of Xtraordinary Game-Changers! We are all heroes, each and every  one of us. To be featured or to share an XGer you’d like to see honored, contact me, at jennifer@jennifermaki.com.

About jennifermaki

Jennifer Maki is Writer, Seeker, Speaker, Pilgrim, Ingenuity Junkie, Mentor and Motivator for wildly free ones, poised influential Type A to Type C ones, innately wise wee-ones, and all the cape-donning wannabes in between. She has a background in Communications, Marketing, Inner Leadership Development and Team Dynamics for more than 15 years, spanning the British West Indies, Europe, US and Canada. "From corporate, and agency, to non-profit, I've been amazed to have had opportunity to build powerful campaigns for rockin' the socks off ideas via creative flair, practical planning and old-fashioned roll-yer-sleeves-up perseverance with teams and inventors brilliant beyond compare. But what really fuels me? My life-long study of the tenacity and depth of the human spirit; people put to the real tests who come out swinging and inspiring despite the odds; the ordinary heroes who reveal the potential for extraordinary within us all." The Result: Writings, workshops, coaching, retreats, community-building events and keynotes, delivered through her biz and passion, Project YES! Life, designed to empower people, companies and communities to question, listen, think and deliver their YES! "But most amazingly, I get to be a mom and a LifeSchooling one at that. And my two brilliant boys and I are thrilled to have recently launched our vision and movement to ignite and fuel heroism in the world via The Phone Booth Project. Check us out and gain your rightful place within the League of Xtraordinary Game-Changers at www.jennifermaki.com."
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