What do we want to be known for? Kindness

We all want to be around kind people in our work and personal lives, people who are selfless and thoughtful. One of the most successful business leaders I know consistently reinforces the idea that if you always focus on showing kindness and doing right by the customer, everyone wins.

The very mention of the word kindness invokes an image of a person we strive to be. If only we could rise above the perception that being kind is more akin to weakness than strength.

My work takes me into the corridors of power, privilege and poverty in our region and nation.  There are kind people across this continuum whose strength inspires us. Mother Theresa never had much by way of material possession—I don’t think any of us would suggest she was anything but kind and powerful. Our region recently lost Jack Taylor. Those who knew Jack understand that he was sincere and kind. It is part of what made him successful. Several weeks back I visited my alma mater Mizzou to attend the funeral of a fraternity member, Arnell Monroe. Arnell was a huge personality—rugged, rough, direct—but also kind. He died way too young. I’ll miss another leader in our community gone too soon, Andy Brauer. He was a giant of a man who worked for years cajoling his colleagues to care about those who live on the margins. He did so much for others, expecting nothing in return—he was kind.

Kind people leave a legacy that those in search of purpose attempt to emulate. Character and kindness are intricately linked and shape our communities.

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