This post was originally published as a guest post on the kind over matter blog on Tuesday 19 March 2013. The last time I wrote about Kindness in Business, I was writing about how better boundaries mean better business.
It's even easier to observe good boundaries when you know where they are. One of the best ways to get clear about this is to figure out your core values, and those of your business.
Sounds like such a business-speak term, doesn't it?
But really, you will have certain deeply held values that govern how you go about life. And business.
My three personal core values are safe, strong, and sovereign. I go through life living to those. For example, several times every day, I ask myself:
Am I safe, and am I doing anything to create safe (or unsafe) space for those around me?
This is a very important value for me because I had an unsafe childhood. So I am always checking: am I creating safe space for myself, and for those I work with, those I have relationships with? One of the big ways people create UNSAFE space, apart from obvious forms of violence, is by not being clear on their values, and therefore allowing and creating violations.
My personal values aren't QUITE the same as the mm...Yoga! business values.
Sovereign shows up in both, but otherwise they are a little different. I must confess, it came as a bit of a surprise to me to find that the business values were not exactly the same as my personal values. But, really, of course they weren't going to be: mm...Yoga! exists to serve a group of people who have different needs to me, but as a group the needs are well served by these four values: Affordable, Accessible, Sovereign, Fun.
Let's take a look at Accessible.
It's very important, in the context of this business, that anyone feel welcome at a yoga class we are running, regardless of age, physical wellness, or level of experience. Loads of people SAY these things but then ask their students to do bendy stuff they really can't or shouldn't, or wear skimpy clothes that make people feel uncomfortable, or talk about bra-straps when there are men in the room, which is NOT an accessible way to give a man an instruction.
I try to make the classes accessible to as broad a range of people as possible by doing things like giving people detailed information on how their poses should feel and how they might feel if they needed to rest and joking about my own limitations so people feel comfortable to honour theirs.
I feel this is a way of showing true kindness to people - seeing them as they really are and showing acceptance for that.
It's funny how that went: by figuring out my core values, and the core values of my business, I found a way to show a great deal more kindness to myself, the people who work in the business with me, and also, most importantly, our clients.
I hope, and from your feedback (like the lovely note below) believe we are getting this right - if not, you'll tell us, yes?
Nadine made a massive difference to us here at Microsoft through her corporate yoga program. Her intuitive and customised approach to each individual's levels of competency of yoga was amazing and valued by the beginners to advanced class participants. Her advice to listen to your body throughout the classes was welcomed as was her bubbly personality and wicked sense of humour!
Trudi Grant, Microsoft Australia