When we spoke with life coach Steffi Black, she had laryngitis. Yet, she immediately asked how we were doing.
When it comes to kind people, it truly is about action and Steffi is all action.
In fact, Steffi scoffed when her doctor said she needed to rest her voice. She speaks publicly about many topics, but the one that is near and dear to our hearts this month is kindness.
How did you begin to coach kindness?
It started off as just a workshop. Then I worked with a wonderful website, Random Acts of Kindness, and I began to implement a curriculum helping schools to implement three kind acts a week for a month. Studies show that the implementation over a period of time actually changes your core social values and how you think about kindness.
Do we need to learn kindness or can it be natural?
Of course you can be a naturally kind person. But the world isn’t necessarily a kind place. If we have an unhappy life in one aspect and we aren’t thinking about how being kind can actually make life better, we may not feel like being kind.
What is one of your kindness exercises?
I have the kids do a kindness journal. They write down what they do kindly that day. Just talking about it doesn’t do it. The action is what makes the impact.
Can adults do anything extra?
Ask yourself before you say something: “Is it kind? Is it helpful? Is it necessary?” Condition yourself in your actions to check if it is a kind and caring thing to do.
Who is your biggest kindness teacher?
My daughter teaches me all the time. I got impatient with her when I was helping her with her math homework. I started to raise my voice and she said, “Mom, do you need to talk to me that way?”
Wise soul! Tell us about the benefits to being kind.
When we do kind acts, things change neurologically and biochemically in the brain. We release serotonin and we release oxytocin. Serotonin helps with mood and memory. Oxytocin reduces free radicals and inflammation in the body. We get a healthy high!
Sweet! Where does self-kindness fit into this?
You have to love yourself first. Then you can love others even more. Self-kindness is very important. We are such a driven, achievement-oriented society. We can’t look at self-kindness as being selfish. We can be that much kinder to others without feeling resentful.
Can you give us any tips as we work on increasing our kindness levels?
Have no expectation of getting it back. Sometimes someone doesn’t know what you’ve done until they’re ready to realize. If you buy someone a coffee or tell them how great they are and they don’t reciprocate, don’t worry about it. You do it because it’s the right thing to do. Do not worry about what other people think. Worry about what you do. That’s all that matters.
As a life coach, are there any questions that you wished people asked themselves more?
I wish that people asked themselves what makes their hearts sing. What are your most peaceful and enjoyable moments? When do you feel the most content? Kindness can fit right into this, as can something as simple as getting a hug from a child.
Steffi will be joining us for a live Twitter chat this Sunday, November 23rd @ 5pm EST. We’d love for you to join us.
Learn more about Steffi anytime on her website.