You’ve heard me say it many times, “stay kind now”. This phrase sounds like a simple pleasantry, however it is so much more than that. This phrase is quite powerful, and each word on its own can be broken down to convey what we are trying to achieve with this podcast.
In today’s episode you will be hearing me break down “stay kind now”, word for word, so you can get a better understanding of its magnitude and maybe inspire you to use this phrase in your own life.
Together we can start to create a better, kinder, world. One “stay kind now” at a time.
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Go to kindleadershipchallenge.com/conversations and enter your email to start having the conversations that will impact your community for the better. You'll also have a chance to win a copy of Joan Gallo’s and Lee Bolman’s ‘Reframing Academic Leadership’.
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This episode was produced byPodcast Boutique.
If you’ve listened to this podcast for a while, or if you get my daily-ish leadership lessons in your email, you know I always sign off with the phrase, “Stay Kind Now”. Yes, it’s a good brand-friendly catch phrase, but those three syllables say a lot more about my philosophy of kind leadership than you might realize. So today we’re going to dig a little deeper into my dependable signoff.
Welcome to the Kind Leadership Challenge, where I empower educational and library leaders like you to build a better world! I’m Sarah Clark, founder of the Kind Leadership Guild. My PhD in higher ed Leadership, my experience coaching, consulting, and presenting to library leaders all over the world, and a career working in academic libraries from the front desk to the Dean’s office taught me that leaders can effectively, humanely, and collaboratively transform their organizations without burning out. And now I’m sharing those same lessons with you.
Here's the deal. You give me the next few minutes of your day. In return, I'll share short stories and simple challenges designed to heal yourself and your school or library, so you can get back to making the impact you wish to see in your communities. By embarking on each week’s challenge on your own or in our private facebook group, you and your team will begin growing humanely, managing effectively, and partnering collaboratively, and your school or library will build a more informed and educated world along the way.
How can you successfully navigate challenging conversations so that you can transform your team culture and acquire the resources you need to thrive? Mastering Challenging Conversations is a free guide to applying the principles of kind leadership to planning, conducting, and moving forward from any challenging leadership conversation. Just go to Kindleadershipchallenge.com/conversations, enter your email and start having the conversations that will impact your community for the better.
Oh, and you’ll be entered in a free drawing which I’ll share at the end of the episode.
So, what’s up with the Stay Kind Now signoff? I guess it’s a little bit of my Sooner born and bred side coming out. It’s the sort of thing I might imagine my favorite waitress at a diner back in Claremore or Norman saying to me after ringing me up at the cash register. It rolls off the tongue easily, like “have a good one” or “may the force be with you.” But it’s not only friendly and casual, the phrase speaks to a deeper truth about kind leadership that we’re going to dig into today. Word by word.
First, is the word Stay. There’s a reason that I say “Stay Kind Now”, not “Be Kind Now” or “Act Kind Now”. Kind leadership is an ongoing process—or really an ongoing practice. It requires daily attention and intention. It’s not flashy or showy. It’s steady and dependable. It is there day in and day out, so that you, your team, and your community can rely on it, and in return provide you with the same kind of steady dependability that will allow all of you to soar.
OK, I hear you all saying to your car stereo or your earbuds right now, “We need to ‘Stay Kind’. Makes sense, especially since this podcast is called the Kind Leadership Challenge. But what is Kindness, anyway?”
Well, to my mind, Kindness is simply taking an action, however big or small, pleasant or painful, that you believe has the potential to create a better world for everyone involved. If you want to hear me talk about the many ways in which kindness can be painful for you and those you lead, I recommend Episode 0, where I talk about some of the most painful—and also kindest—things anyone has ever told me, and Episode 18, where I talk about the hardest action I’ve ever taken as a leader, and consider whether or not it was kind, and to whom. But I haven’t talked much about the “better world” thing.
Now, the definition of a “better world” is its own can of worms. After all, a lot of well-intentioned leaders have created a lot of injustice and misery in their misguided or bigoted attempts to attain their vision of a better world. Now even as a library leader, my position is less about growing my own or my library’s power than it is about empowering others to figure out what their definitions of a better world are, and to supply them with the intellectual tools they can use to fight for their own vision of that world. Now, I’m not saying I’m neutral. Even aside from my own biases and prejudices, these days providing largely unfettered access to fact-based information is in itself a political stance. I take those actions and teach others to take those actions, because based on history, the more we understand about ourselves and each other, the kinder our actions become over the long run, and the closer we come to a better world, if often in a two steps forward, one step back kind of way.
So, two words down, one to go. If we say that “Stay Kind” is shorthand for “consistently take actions that you believe could lead to a better world”, Where does “now” come in?
Well, forgive me for falling into woo-woo chiches, but ultimately all we can control in this life is the present. For years I wore a beaded bracelet with the word “now” on it, and I’m still known to pull it out if I’m feeling particularly stressed or scattered. Because the more we pay attention to the world as it is right now, the more we see the ways it could be better, however we define the word better. And the more opportunities we see to nudge the world in the direction we would like it to go—or to watch other people’s actions, and maybe even learn that their vision of a better world is even better than yours.
So, How are you planning to Stay Kind now by incorporating a kind mindset into your daily habits?
How are you planning to Stay Kind Now by Taking actions you believe could create a better world?
And how are you planning to Stay Kind Now by staying attuned to the present moment in order to refine your vision of what a better world truly is, and to find opportunities to take actions that fulfill that vision? Come to the Kind Leadership Challenge Facebook Community and share how you’d like to implement the stay kind now philosophy into your leadership practice. Also, I want to let you know that On September 5th I’ll be awarding a copy of Joan Gallos and Lee Bolman’s Reframing Academic Leadership to a random member of my email list, which you can join by downloading the Mastering Challenging Conversations guide.
Thanks for listening and for taking action to become a kinder leader. If you found this week’s episode insightful, give the show a rating or review—or even better, tell your fellow leaders! Never doubt that day by day, you’re building a better world, even if you can't see it yet. So until next time, stay kind now.
Discover what Kind Leadership is (and isn't) in this four part series!
In the next 45 minutes you'll learn the first steps to healing your organization--and yourself--so you can start building the better world that you desire and your community deserves.