It takes a daily renewal of our minds to be kind, first, to ourselves.
Meet Cherokee County’s Ambassador of Kindness, Kevin Williams. Granted, that’s not an official title, unless me writing it here makes it so.
Kevin is on a mission that’s personal, one that he lives daily and is sharing with others. Recently, I was part of a Zoom call with Kevin, in which he gave the participants a pep talk, encouraging a focus on kindness and hope at the end of a long, challenging year. I hung up from the call inspired, feeling refreshed and eager to share that sentiment with others.
I called Jackie Loudin, our managing editor, and she caught the vision! We had one of our famous brainstorming sessions, and decided to declare 2021 as The Year of Kindness, at least through the pages of your favorite Aroundabout Local Media publication.
That focus starts this month with Kevin’s story. I’m hoping to cover you with kindness and inspire you to go forward and make a difference in your world.
Kevin certainly is leading by example.
As the owner of three Canton Chick-fil-A franchises, he has taken the principles he impresses on his employees and written a book that introduces “Irrational Kindness! The Crazy Pursuit of an Extraordinary Life.” The book releases Jan. 12, and in the true spirit of kindness, 100% of book sales will be donated to local and international charities. Canton-based nonprofits, Goshen Valley Boys Ranch and the Angel House, are recipients, along with a foster care program at Fostering Together in Alpharetta and CARE for AIDS in Kenya.
“Our book isn’t about random acts of kindness. It’s intentional acts of kindness, and it starts by teaching people to be kind to themselves,” Kevin said. “It’s a renewal of the mind daily. Just like you brush your teeth every morning, we need to encourage ourselves every day, and remember to be kind to ourselves. When you mess up, just keep moving forward.”
While there are some simple ways to show kindness, such as sharing a smile, saying hello to everyone you meet, and doing something positive every day, Kevin wants the conversation to go much deeper.
Showing kindness means acknowledging the realities of life’s challenges such as loss, perfectionism, uncertainty, burnout and isolation, and discovering the beauty of seeing the opportunities these offer. Do this by assuming the best in others and celebrating the creative uniqueness God put into each person designed, he said. Seek to understand rather than being understood. That is kindness to others and yourself by giving yourself a break so you can lean into the joy in the journey. Allowing our jobs to be more than just jobs and our life more about just serving ourselves.
“Often the idea of being irrational is smeared with negative connotations. It can sound illogical, senseless, unjustifiable, or groundless. It may even represent ludicrous and mad behavior,” Kevin said.
He argues that being irrational can be just the opposite. And it is the most positive, inspiring and empowering way to be.
“Being irrational has to do with thinking outside the box ― way outside. It has to do with viewing life as a journey and still being willing to reverse the route, shake things up, or flip the map upside down. Why? Not just to be different, but to make a difference.”
Therein lies your challenge. Be kind. Make a difference. And stay tuned for more encouragement, both here in the magazine and through the Irrational Kindness podcast. www.Irrationalkindness.com.