Man kindly pours coffee for a coworker at a modern office.

Fulfillment and Success Start with Kindness

2-minute read

How to lead with compassion

The mind and body rewards are well documented: Those who show compassion and kindness report lower blood pressure, less heart disease risk, and improved cognitive function plus increased happiness, vitality, and better relationships.

But what about your occupation? Does being nice at work translate to success in your career? Can you climb the ladder while holding it for others? Yes, it turns out.

Although every organization and profession has notable exceptions (strikingly so it seems in politics), being a decent human being is an advantage at work. And when compassion and kindness are augmented by participating in and contributing to groups, your star can rise even higher.

Further Reading
For more on workplace compassion and kindness, read:
Defrosting Corporate Culture With Acts of Kindness.
Spread More Kindness Everywhere

Good people can finish first.

Does that mean you can make a list of niceties to perform each day to reap personal and professional rewards? Not exactly — genuineness matters.

And while you’d come by it more easily if kindness and compassion were modeled for you at an early age, goodness can be learned.

Good Nurtured

Like all behaviors, you can cultivate kindness and compassion through practice. The more you do, the more natural it feels and the more genuine it becomes. A recent On the Road by Steve Hartman, for example, follows a self-centered young man growing into a selfless giver, starting with the simple act of holding the door for others.

Try these steps to exercise your kindness and compassion muscles:

  • Wait for it. That doesn’t mean hanging out on the corner until a little old lady wanders by so you can help her across the street. It means slowing down… physically and emotionally. Listen a little longer before responding. Linger awhile before moving on. Not being in a hurry opens you up to seeing opportunities.
  • Put your phone away when you’re around others. An entire generation is missing half the world around them — along with chances to be engaged and helpful — because their eyes are glued to the screen. If you’re going out with friends, try leaving your phone at home.
  • Say thank you and you’re welcome no matter how insignificant the interaction. I appreciate your help and How can I help you? go a long way toward making others feel good about themselves and you.
  • Offer to help. Nothing expresses compassion more powerfully than rolling up your sleeves to pitch in when a colleague is swamped.
  • Look outside your immediate social circle. The kindness of strangers is the most powerful and uplifting variety.
  • Hang out with considerate people. Simply observing goodness has a positive impact on you. And limit your time with rude, negative individuals — both ends of the spectrum are contagious.

Though wellness pros tend to be compassionate and kind, increasing technology along with remote/hybrid work can limit your opportunities and create obstacles. For your personal and professional fulfillment and growth, consciously look for ways to exercise these valuable attributes in 2023.


Dean WitherspoonDean Witherspoon
Chief collaborator, nudger, tinkerer; leads the most inventive team creating well-being and sustainable living programs. Reach out if you’d like to talk about employee well-being, emotional fitness, or eco-friendly living.