I was just about to do another post about how awesome it was this morning to go into my daughter’s amazing class and make some more Kindness Cards to deliver to our friends who recently received hateful messages spray-painted on their buildings. I was going to take pictures of the beautiful cards and share them. And then do another post about how excited I was to get the supplies for our Kindness Club at the retirement home tomorrow – we are going to make “Feather Wand” cat toys to donate to the Ottawa Humane Society.
But then I had this feeling that I wasn’t being 100% truthful. Don’t get me wrong, I am totally excited about those things – that is the truth … but I am only posting when things are good. And a lot of times, in my journey to really believe that I am the Founder of World-Changing Kids, things aren’t good. And I felt a very strong urge to share that with you today … in case there is anyone else out there who is trying to start up their own company based on what they truly believe is their purpose in life. In case there is anyone else out there who is terrified of this process.
So, I am going to start a little series of posts under the title, “This Is My Purpose”, with this photo, because I just love this photo.
I have thought about doing this for quite a while now and have always hesitated because I didn’t know how to start or where to start and I thought it should be in chronological order, but I am motivated to write it at weird times that are not chronological. And so I decided today to stop putting out reasons why I can’t do this and just do it. These posts will be made up of thoughts and realizations on being an entrepreneur and will not be in any particular order.
So, my first thought to share with you today is that I am super at doing these Acts of Kindness activities for free. Going into my daughter’s class is something that I do on a volunteer basis. The awesome Kids, Love, Peace festival that I co-organized with Dr. Peter Stockdale this past September was done on a volunteer basis. The “Teaching Kindness” pilot project that I did last year at St. Anthony’s Catholic School was on a volunteer basis. And the one that I did the year before that at Alta Vista Public School was on a volunteer basis. And I love doing this work. I am so energized and inspired when I get to work on these projects, or even just talk about these projects. But I need to stop volunteering if I want to actually grow World-Changing Kids beyond the “grassroots” stage – which I do!
So, in an effort to do this, I have signed up with a fantastic business coach, Lara Wellman. She has been working with me since September to think about money – to actually plan programs that I will ask people to pay for. She keeps trying to make me believe that money is not the root of all evil and that I need to make money in order to bring more good to the world (which my friend Cheshmak is always trying to remind me of too).
Lara had me start with the “Teaching Kindness” program. I know that it works. I have done it twice now. I know that the kids benefit immensely from it. I know that they build empathy and compassion by completing the Acts of Kindness. I know that it is an anti-bullying initiative, without using the word anti-bullying (because I don’t like that word). The way I see it is that the bully is another child and that he or she is hurting for his or her own reasons and is acting out. And I don’t really like the idea of being “anti” another child.
With this “Teaching Kindness” program, the kids learn that helping others feels good and that the adults in their lives value kindness. The kids will go through a positive feedback loop where they do the Act of Kindness and they make the person receiving it feel good. They will be thanked and feel the gratitude from that person and this will make them feel good. They will see that the adults in their lives are proud of them for this kindness and that will also make them feel good. They will want to do more Acts of Kindness because they have learned that it makes them feel good. They will start to look for ways to help. And if they are filling their time with looking for ways to help others, they will have less time to think of ways to hurt others.
I have the whole vision for the “Teaching Kindness” program in my head, which includes a workbook for each child with 20 Acts of Kindness to complete over the school year; a Teacher’s Guide with instructions, suggestions and curriculum links for each Act of Kindness; and a secure login section on our website with videos and photos of all the Acts of Kindness for inspiration.
Thanks to Lara’s pushing, I have priced this. I first priced it at prices that I thought looked good. And Lara made me really walk through this and think about how much time I have put into creating this, how much more time I have to put into it to complete it, and how much of my time will be used to run this program with the schools. And as a result, I raised the prices. And then I sat unable to move forward. I spiraled down and down into thoughts of … “no one will pay this price, it is far too expensive, people can just do this for free, why would they pay me, other groups are already doing this, etc., etc.”
I think that I might just be coming out of this spiral … which has been happening since September when I first told Lara that I would finish the Teacher’s Guide and book five meetings with schools! I haven’t done any of that. But I am feeling like I am closer to doing it.
I can logically tell myself that no one is going to pay me for this if I don’t tell them how much it costs and ask them if they will pay it. And I can say to myself, “What is the worst that can happen if I ask? They say no?”. And if they say no, then I can ask for their feedback and change the program a bit to something that people are more likely to say yes to. I can also tell myself that this works and that the world needs kindness now more than ever. I can look to the work that I have done with so many kids in my community and see that they have benefited from all the crazy Acts of Kindness that they have done with me. I can say all that, but actually turning that into action is hard. It is really hard.
And I don’t have any grand solution to share with you. I am still muddling through this. But I thought that by sharing it, I might be able to help others who are experiencing similar feelings feel like they are not alone. And I might also be able to help myself move forward by putting this out there.