Nicole has a huge heart. That heart led her to her mission of making our world a kinder, more caring and connected place. She is the spark behind the acts of kindness initiative Kind YYC, a daily blogger, and a member of the innovation team at Vivo for Healthier Generations.
1.Can you tell us about KindYYC?
KindYYC is an initiative to spread kindness in Calgary and beyond. KindYYC promotes kindness through organized and random acts of kindness, as well as sharing stories and kind, everyday habits. Its first project took place in November 2017 and included 33 acts of kindness in a three-week period. These acts ranged from volunteering at a family shelter to buying about 25 people their hot cup of coffee or tea to writing a thank-you card. The full list of acts can be found online here or by searching for the hashtag #kindyyc.
Next up will include monthly acts of kindness in 2018 leading up to another larger project at the end of the year. You can follow along with this journey on Nicole’s instagram @kind_yyc.
My favourite part of KindYYC is having other people bring forward their own kind ideas to life. One of my friends took up a donation of scarves, another donated money to cover the admin fees for a recreation facility pass for a few families, and my Mom donated to an individual collecting for the Salvation Army.
At its core, KindYYC is based on three things:
- That we build the strongest communities when we spend time with others making the world a better place.
- That we all crave to give and receive kindness.
- For ideas to spread they don’t need to be complicated, they need to feel human and that makes them remarkable.
2.What inspired you to start KindYYC?
I grew up living across the street from my grandparents and being surrounded by my entire family. My Nanny and Poppy taught my whole family and me about unconditional love. This love was not only for my family but for total strangers, too. My grandparents demonstrated to me that you could lead with love in your life at all times. I was truly a child that was raised by a village. It took me almost three decades to figure out how to stand as tall as them and be courageous enough to step into this heart-first leadership as well.
I spent a long time waiting for someone to ask me to step up and be a leader when it came to building community and making the world a kinder place. In 2017 when I completed the altMBA, I realized that I would probably be sitting a long time if I kept expecting someone else to provide me with the opportunities I wanted. I acknowledged that this kind of work and leadership is my birthright. I’d grown up watching my family do this. Who was I not to step onto their path and into their light?
For my 32nd birthday in November 2016, I had decided to bake 32 dozen cookies and muffins for charities close to my heart. My humble ego got the best of me at that time and I did it all in a pretty quiet way. In my altMBA goals I called this out and committed to stepping into the leadership of my family. Shortly after the course ended, I brought together my friends who had helped me with baking to ask for their support and ideas in what my 33rd birthday could be.
It was during that brainstorming session that the idea of 33 acts of kindness – and subsequently Kind YYC – was born. From there KindYYC grew through my own belief in my leadership and openness to the reciprocity of others.
3. How does your approach to kindness differ from conventional wisdom?
A lot of people talk about optimism in terms of looking at the glass as half-full rather than half-empty. My brand of optimism is the glass is always overflowing – I approach kindness and love with this same view.
Conventional wisdom tends to jump to criticism, suspicion, and distrust as the first tools out of our tool belt. We distance ourselves from our neighbours. Rather than asking someone for help, we often opt to pay someone to do the job for us. We no longer lean into that village to take care of ourselves and our families.
KindYYC is about getting back to the everyday kindness that was present in my upbringing. KindYYC includes getting comfortable with giving and receiving kindness, shifting back to living and thriving in communities, and to leading with our heart rather than our head. I believe these simple acts of kindness are one path that can lead us back to that same kind of village I was fortunate enough to grow up in.
4. If the readers of this interview can take one action to bring more kindness to the world, what would it be?
You are part of humankind so try to lean into both parts of that word. Remember that everyone you are dealing with is human, which means they are imperfect, including yourself. Never underestimate the power of kindness, even in the smallest acts.