I just made some oatmeal/cranberry/chocolate chip cookies. Spectacular.
The recipe wasn’t spectacular.
My mixing and baking technique wasn’t spectacular.
It’s what I did with those cookies that proved spectacular.
I put some in a plastic bag and personally delivered them to co-workers.
The cookies were part of an experiment I conducted.
I was testing the effect of kindness on my co-workers, who are under pressure every now and then.
Thing is, I don’t go to the office often because I work from home. So, my experiment required me to find time in the day—a time when I knew my co-workers wouldn’t be bombarded with deadlines—and I delivered the oatmeal/cranberry/chocolate chip cookies to the office.
We chit-chatted for a few minutes. I thanked them for specific tasks they’d performed in the last few weeks.
Every time I run this experiment of taking time away from myself and acknowledging the good accomplishments of others, the evidence piles higher and higher. My job runs smoother. Communication is clearer. And, life feels hopeful.
I’ve run this experiment without cookies and it works just as well.
Once, a co-worker made a big mistake that affected me unhelpfully. When I walked into the office, I could see tangible relief come over her face. She realized I wasn’t angry. We were able to discuss the mistake with the desire to make sure it didn’t happen again.
I have to admit, I’ve conducted this experiment of taking the time to thank others, and it has backfired. But, I’ll keep experimenting, this way I won’t start assuming I know exactly how things will turn out. I won’t write someone off. Experimenting with kindness hasn’t truly failed me yet.