Recent events around the country reinforce what we know: conflict is hard, and we must do better.
In these troubled and divided times there is hope around us that we can and will do better. The time is now to get to work and build a future together that works for each and every one of us. Easy to say, and hard to do. It will take leadership at every level – national, state, local, community – to move forward in an inclusive and productive way.
How exactly do we do that? I’m no expert but I believe we can accomplish great things if we start by being kind and doing good.
A basic tenant of leadership is kindness, and kindness has never been weak. Kindness is about showing empathy, acceptance and tolerance. Kindness shown during conflict leads to a de-escalation of tensions and a more satisfactory outcome for all parties. Empathy and understanding of different opinions and viewpoints can move us forward in meaningful ways and it provides the solid foundation that any community needs to be inclusive and create equity of opportunity.
But are we inherently kind? Watching the news may lead us to believe otherwise. Politicians who play to their base and express negativity at every opportunity leads to the polarization which seems to be the basis for every story. Creating division seems to be the goal of many national media outlets and many national elected officials (from both parties).
If everyone was nice, all the time, the world would be a much better place to live. Consistency is more important than intensity. Kindness (being nice) is not all that hard. Most young children have it figured out which gives me hope that the rest of us can do the same.
Doing good however, is a slightly different proposition. Everyone can achieve the same level of being nice, because it’s about what you do. However, the truth is; not everyone can do the same amount of good.
Doing good is about helping others. Doing good is less about what you do and more about the outcomes of those you help. Time and time again, I have observed that those who are kind and those who do good share a number of traits that we can all learn from and adapt into our individual and organization routines.
Look no further than the recent winners of the Vail Valley Success Awards. These businesses and individuals share common traits: hard work; showing up; a desire and eagerness to learn more; giving back; exhibiting a general positivity to those around you. Collectively summed up as being kind and doing good.
Consider our member of the year, Robin Thompson, who spends an inordinate amount of time and effort to help our nonprofit community thrive. Or our chairman’s award winner, Jim Wear, who has given back to numerous community organizations. Or any of the other individuals and organizations who show compassion, make a difference in our community, and matter. These are the people and organizations that I look up to and which give me confidence that we will be okay, because they take the time to be kind and do good. They are role models for all of us.
How we treat each other determines the kind of community we live in, which determines the kind of country we live, which determines the kind of world we live in. Being kind and doing good are among the most powerful tools we have. We need to use them.
Chris Romer is president & CEO of Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at VailValleyPartnership.com