When I glanced out my window after a heavy snowfall, and spotted my snow-free car, I saw firsthand the kind of care that changes lives. Perhaps it was the timing. Perhaps it was the fact I’d been missing my garage that I gave up to be where I am. Perhaps it was the chilly morning, or the fact that I was running late.
In a somewhat magical way, that snow-free car stands as a monumental, iconic reminder that we cannot understand pain or grasp the suffering of others unless we’ve faced frustrations or difficulties ourselves. How so?
Only after we’ve navigated personal challenges, especially during tough times, and without support, can we begin to sense the genuine power of care and kindness. The brand of care that leaves others in a better place. Have you experienced it?
Life’s fiercest storms can be offset, and we are transported by even one caring gesture from those around us. It’s as if a light of inner hope and humanity mingle to melt our sensibilities, and reboot our efforts to rise up and move us all forward. Back to the car and care.
It’s been a few weeks now that my neighbor, Heinz, brushed snow off my car as an early morning gesture of kindness. Then, on many occasions since, I found further gifts of a ready-to-roll vehicle after several snowfalls. Heinz still does not know I’m aware of who cleans snow off my car, nor does he know that I’ve seen his thoughtful gift from my apartment window.
It’s also likely that Heinz doesn’t know the intense level of inspiration his sincere kindness sparks within me again and again. That ripple effect of care that comes from another person without conditions, inspires us to pay forward more of the same kindness to people around us.
As a key component of the brain’s interpersonal IQ, care offers an epiphany to rise up and pass compassion along to those who least expect it. Do you see altered organizations here? Or can you imagine transformational leadership?
Whenever we care about others, we fuel our brain’s innate ability to build and sustain relationships. Even one small kind act can help ordinary folks like you or me, take risks to know and be known for who we really are. A circle or culture that cares, much as people like Heinz do, burns strong rather than burns out. Count me in!
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Practical Guides Created by Ellen Weber, Brain Based Tasks for Growth Mindset