Choosing Kindness

"If We All Do One Random Act of Kindness..." by Heath Brandon via Flickr

Bliss for Business

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"If We All Do One Random Act of Kindness..." by Heath Brandon via Flickr
“If We All Do One Random Act of Kindness…” by Heath Brandon via Flickr

There are some days when I think the internet is a lot like high school: there are plenty of cliques, clubs, and lunchroom gossip, and we’re all a little unsure of ourselves. And then there’s the bullying. Sometimes overt – threats of personal death, pet murder, and other nasties, sent to journalists, bloggers, authors, and actors – but so much more often, it’s hidden in statements and shared sentiments that are meant to be motivational to one subset of people, but are a negative message to others – like skinny-shaming in fat-positive “real women” messages, for example.

Because it’s so quiet, because it’s couched in positivity and light, it’s easy to click “share” or “repin” without considering the meaning, the impact, the weight that the message carries.

“Before you speak, ask yourself: is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve upon the silence?” (Shirdi Sai Baba)

I think that, in our day, we’ve all experienced some political mudslinging. For many of us, the ads leading up to the elections (at least here in the US) are shining examples of the kind of marketing we’d never stoop to: focusing on someone else’s bad qualities instead of our own good ones, bending truth, and playing on people’s feelings. You’d never do that, right?

While political ads may represent an extreme on the spectrum, there’s a reason they exist. Advertising like that gets your attention, and creates an emotional connection – good or bad. And that inspires us to take action, as good advertising should.

Fear is a really, really easy emotion to conjure – much more than love or loyalty – so it’s low-hanging fruit, as far as advertising goes. And so we manufacture fear: fear of not getting in (create a false deadline!), fear of having to pay more (create an arbitrary price increase!), fear of failure (you’ll never make it unless you buy this thing!).

Just like the mixed-message media from above, this sort of marketing is often drenched in good intentions. You want to share your goodies with people. You want them to buy, so that you can continue offering more good things. You really want to help, to serve, to reach, to grow. This is, by and large, the advertising model that’s out there, so you go with it, right?

But is it really kind to create fear? To shift potential customers into an uncomfortable state of being just to make the sale? Emotions are important, yes, but fear isn’t the only one. Can you connect to your potential client base through happiness? Through joy? Through dreams and desires rather than nightmares?

Can you commit to choosing kindness, to building relationships in your biz through positive connections instead of negative? It’s not easy, for certain, and the burden is on you to go the extra mile to make that connection. Start by showing them you’re awesome and amazing, and trust in them to make the best choice for them when the time comes.

Danielle NelsonHi! I’m Dani. I’m a writer, teacher, business coach, and signal-booster, and I’m on a mission to help you make your business more awesome, more successful, and more you. (With tea. Tea is always good.)

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2 thoughts on “Choosing Kindness

  1. Meg says:

    This is awesome! I so appreciate companies that advertise with humor or happy feelings. Fear mongering works but is terrible. Thanks for putting this positive message out in the world!

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