ABC News Correspondent Adrienne Bankert is out with a new book, "Your Hidden Superpower: The Kindness That Makes You Unbeatable at Work and Connects You with Anyone." Through her experiences as an on-air correspondent at "Good Morning America" and ABC News, Bankert has witnessed the impact that kindness has on others and how powerful it can be.
In her book, Bankert shares examples of simple acts of kindness, how to make them a habit and how to show kindness at work, especially during these divisive times. Read an adapted excerpt from her book below.
Kindness is the remedy
Resilience in the midst of crisis and a world turned upside down.
Your true strength will be revealed when you’re facing the storms of life. On my worst days, when I have felt like stress, exhaustion or crisis was consuming me, it was kindness towards others that gave me LIFE.
Kindness is more than just a nice idea; it has been my fail proof anchor to hope - even in the first half of 2020.
Many are grieving over how unfair life has been; plenty are heartbroken over the divisiveness and pain of a year that looks nothing like we expected. Add to that the relationship and family issues, uncertainty of our economy and violence we see everywhere and it adds overwhelming pressure.
It can appear there is no safe place anymore. That can lead to everyday people becoming more anxious, and emotionally unpredictable.
We all have every right to express our emotions, including anger and sorrow. However, unless we are inoculated from fear and rage, any one of us is susceptible to losing our temper, decency and common sense with our coworkers, our spouse or our neighbor.
Even in the most uncertain times, kindness is the cure. Kindness keeps us sane. When we are doing something kind for someone else, or thinking kind thoughts, or reflecting back on a kindness someone has done for us, it keeps us from negative thinking. That is why it is important to stay occupied with kindness.
Kindness is as simple as a friendly call to check in. I asked one of my colleagues who called me recently, “How are you doing?”
“Not good,” they replied.
I listened, then said, “I’m going to check in with you every so often ok? Like family.”
“Alright. That would be really nice.”
You have heard kind people described as a “breath of fresh air,” right? Kindness brings clarity and allows us to be more empowered to be innovative and think outside the box.
I was so inspired when I heard that a woman I know found out a few of her friends had been laid off. She rallied a number of other mutual friends and asked them, “What are we going to do about this?” They collectively bought a month's worth of groceries and meals for those who were out of work.
Kindness has also helped me to connect with people from different backgrounds.
A simple, kind act can foster openness and empathy. Kindness is one of the few things that is truly inclusive regardless of age, gender, economic status or ethnicity. The language of kindness is universal.
Kindness gets ahead of the curve and helps bring reconciliation or peace to the one who is scared, hurting or hopeless.
For example, kindness helps a colleague talk out something bothering them before they blow up in anger on the job and tarnish their whole career. Some people are blatantly disrespectful or say things that are completely inappropriate.
The correct response is not one size fits all; but as we practice kindness we learn to be sensitive to when it is right to speak up and when it is right to stay quiet. As you follow warm impulses, you will develop an ability to be more intuitive in even challenging situations.
There are times when we get angry that life is not going the way we wanted. Disappointment can leave us feeling as though we are on the brink of losing it.
When we are frustrated, one solution to the burn out is to look for how we can deliver kindness. I’ve seen this firsthand. Just before entering one of the most difficult times of my life, I began a weekly mentoring group.
The consistent act of giving to them kept me in a generous vibe. The advice I gave often provided answers for me.
Kindness keeps us committed to being who we really are, at all costs, in spite of contrary feelings and horrible days. Being kind, even when I didn’t feel like it, reiterated to me that my true identity, who I really am, would not let me down even in moments where I had good reason to quit, throw a tantrum, or let someone know exactly what I thought about them.
Perhaps you have had times like this in your life when on the outside you were handling business and on the inside you were barely holding it all together. By shifting the focus to others, no matter how tough life gets, you’ll catch a wave of hope that will breathe fresh oxygen and tenacity into you.
Giving kindness is a reminder that you are here to make a difference, and that you were born to be someone else’s answer. Having a purpose rooted in kindness builds assurance that we are a part of the solution, not the problem.
The whole world is demanding we be kind under pressure.
It is so much more than just making someone feel better.
By being kind, you are the remedy.
"Your Hidden Superpower: The Kindness That Makes You Unbeatable at Work and Connects You with Anyone" is available now wherever books are sold./i>