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    Houston Kraft is CEO and co-founder of CharacterStrong, an organization dedicated to infusing character, empathy, and connection into education. He is an author, keynote speaker, and curriculum developer. A self-proclaimed kindness advocate, he is passionate about spreading it in meaningful ways. His most recent book, Deep Kindness: A Revolutionary Guide for the Way We Think, Talk, and Act in Kindness, explores kindness as a skill set and competency that can bring revolutionary change. He joins Marcel Schwantes to discuss how kindness can improve our quality of life and shares actionable tips to help us be more kind every day.

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    Show Notes

    • Marcel asks Houston why he wrote his recent book. Houston explains that it’s because he appreciates how much words shape our lives. “Language is the vehicle to experiences, emotions, and memories inside our brains, so it stands to reason that the way we think about things is a huge indicator of how we act.” [6:52]
    • Our culture views kindness as a nice-to-have instead of a must-have, according to Houston. We see it as fluffy, so we don’t see the need to develop it in ourselves as a skill. [9:14]
    • “We are experiencing an increase in accountability. People are being seen, watched, exposed, listened to and critiqued more deeply than they have in the past,” Houston remarks. “The bridge that we are now tasked to cross is how to show loving accountability. Accountability without love is condescending; it creates friction without room for growth,” he adds. [15:45]
    • Houston defines forgiveness and describes what it entails. “By extending forgiveness, you’re setting yourself free from holding on to anger and resentment while also setting clear boundaries around the behavior of [who you are forgiving] so it doesn’t violate you again,” Marcel comments. [18:19]
    • Provide a specific constraint to make your goal of kindness more actionable. For example, asking ‘How do I be kind today towards my mom?’ may yield more actionable answers than simply asking ‘How do I be kind today?’ [25:08]
    • “There’s power in scheduling time to worry,” Houston quotes. “Give yourself 15 minutes a day to worry and only do so during that time. So many of us let worry bleed throughout our day which makes the stuff in the background seem bigger and more monstrous.” [33:33]
    • “My mom wrote notes in my lunchbox from kindergarten to 12th grade. They took her 2 minutes every day, and when I look back and add it up, [I realize] it’s the most profound action of love I’ve experienced. The little things are the big things,” Houston shares. [39:39]

    Marcel also welcomes Tom Geraghty, the creator of the Psychological Safety Toolkit, to share insights about the importance of psychological safety in the workplace and why it’s good for business.

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    About Marcel Schwantes

    Marcel Schwantes is the founder and chief human officer of Leadership from the Core, a global leadership training and executive coaching boutique aimed at developing great leaders and great cultures through Servant Leadership.

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