Last night, I was attending one of my community groups that has been learning MDNA. I had an interesting exchange with an IAF that got me thinking.
Doug, the IAF, had asked me a few weeks ago about parenting. I gave him some advice. He followed the advice and last night shared a report of how it went.
As I listened, I gave him a compliment. He was at first bashful and said anybody would have done what he did. He needed a little more encouragement. So I quickly broke down the principles and ideologies behind the great impact he had on his kids. He was a hero to his family. I could tell he was touched and that made me feel good.
Then, as we were leaving, he turned to me and said, “Ed, I’m really glad we have you here in our group.” That was it. Now typically when I hear something like that, I politely say “Thank you” and move on. But with Doug the IAF, I didn’t just hear it, I felt it. It was a small gesture but it impacted me enough that I promptly had to go home and tell my wife.
The Gift of Kindness
Research has shown that doing random acts of kindness creates a sense of happiness that lasts beyond the acts themselves. This happiness triggers a “chemical cocktail” in your brain, mainly dopamine and serotonin. This activates learning centers in your brain and helps with positive neuroplasticity. Increased performance and emotional health is the ultimate result. This is brain science from the world of positive psychology.
When I coach individuals using MDNA, I teach people to give their MDNA gifts as acts of kindness. This is a win-win. Not only does performance improve, we make the world a better place. Success and fulfillment.
We use a model I call “Go! E.A.S.T.” It is a way to plan your gifts of kindness.
Don’t wait. Yes, spontaneous opportunities are good. But you maximize the brain science if you make a plan and go take action. You will inspire a Go! culture. This will motivate you in other areas.
I encouraged Doug and he encouraged me. I encouraged as a UCD using principles and convictions. The encouragement from an IAF like Doug is different. There is a deep sense of compassion and empathy that just connects with your heart. An IAF doesn’t need many words to make people feel special and appreciated. It’s the look, body posture and sense of absolute sincerity. Now every MDNA different and encourages in a unique way. For example an SSA might not day anything at all and just take care of a need. A CVS I know gives donations to charity on behalf of people that inspire him. Whatever it is, stay with your intrinsic motivators.
If you stay within your intrinsic motivations, you will come across as authentic. When I try and act like any other gift, especially with acts of kindness, it can feel insincere. Be yourself.
Don’t be afraid to stir the pot a little. Go beyond their expectations and surprise them. Don’t just send a text, try an actual hand-written letter. Don’t just cook a meal, learn their favorite recipe or ethnic dish. Use your imagination. This will only increase the impact.
Acts of kindness change people. At the MDNA Institute, we believe in the transformational power of human purpose, passions and potential. Let’s make a difference together.
So what are you waiting for? Go E.A.S.T. today!