Kindness that cashes

Many of you already know my alter ego to Mr. Nice Guy is that of DJ Doug. I've been blessed with a long career as a DJ, circa 1984, and my goal is to continue this career as long as my market will have me. Three decades of bumps, bruises, great experiences and amazing memories created in the DJ business have taught me many valuable lessons about customer service, business and life.

As a speaker, author and blogger, many of my stories are rooted in the experiences I had in the entertainment world in which I was raised. Frankly speaking, I have spent enough time in this business to earn an ego. I've made plenty of money and developed enough knowledge to tell others in the business how they should act and what they should do to be successful. Honestly, I am not sure anyone has the level of experience I have entertaining at events and I know I am well worth the fees I charge. And that is exactly how I sounded twenty plus years ago. Full of ego and me, me, me. Not good.

Recalling the way I acted early in my career really nauseates me. I was so full of me. It seems so frightening to think of how many others in my line of work have huge egos, step all over people as they rise in the profession and back stab their way all the way to the top. Usually, the quick rise to the top is met with an even quicker fall to ground level for this egocentric group. And one does not need to be a DJ in order to have a huge ego and to be rude. You have plenty of those people in your industry as well.

I became a professional in 1984 making my first paycheck in the entertainment business and by 1992 I had managed to witness many of "those guys" make it to the top. What I learned from those first eight years is no matter how big a paycheck you were getting, you should never lose sight of all the people around you that help you make an event perfect. Music is only one component of the event so being an idiot to hotel security, the banquet manager, event planner, wait staff, florist, decorator and photographer will get you absolutely nowhere. Fast. I had plenty to learn about customer service and how to create an exceptional customer experience.

In 1992, I turned a switch and consciously decided that it was time for me to go beyond being "I" centered. So I became a student of kindness. In the beginning it was very challenging. When being confronted with a problem or an opinion other than my own, my knee jerk response was to go on the defensive. The first word that entered my brain was "NO." I had not yet learned about compassion, empathy and perspective. I became a student of listening, truly hearing, comprehending and absorbing the opinions of others, trying to put myself in their shoes. Kind people show compassion, but can still be confident. Kind people genuinely care, not because they have an ulterior motive but because it is the right thing to do. The beauty is you can learn to be kind, you don't have to be born with a kindness gene. It will require effort, but it will be well worth it.

As you journey through your career, who is it exactly that you can show kindness too? Easy answer, everyone. If you work for a large company I encourage you to open your eyes to each and every co-worker around you, regardless of his position. Show genuine kindness as you listen to his story about his daughter going into first grade, be happy for the woman in accounting who just got engaged or show kindness to the customer service specialist who just got yelled at by an irate customer.

Take that same level of kindness and add it to your personal world. Take an extra moment to say hello and ask how the cashier at the parking lot is doing on this hot summer day. As challenging as it may be to show kindness after waiting in line for 20 minutes at the post office, show some love to the clerk at the counter. Send out a text message or email to someone just to say, "Hope you're having a great day." Greet by name the checkout clerk at the grocery store. Smile as you ask her how her day is going. Wait for a response. Use her name again when you say goodbye. She is wearing a name tag for your benefit.

You will find the people closest to you will notice a change in how you are acting and in return will start to be more kind to you. I truly feel as though kindness is contagious. It's a habit worth paying forward and on days when you are not feeling very kind or quite up to par, a kind deed from someone you had earlier shown kindness to will make you smile inside and out. The beauty of this circle of kindness and compassion is it will last a lifetime.

Since I turned the switch in 1992, life has been incredibly kind to me both professionally and personally. I really don't think it is a coincidence. The energy you give off is absorbed by those around you and given back in return, so hop on the kindness bandwagon. Heck, let's start a revolution of kindness. Let's see how far the revolt will take us. Worst case scenario, we will have a whole mess of people out their being kind to each other, and that sounds like a great idea to me. An idea you will be able to bank on.