Be excellent to each other

I have two stories to share from last week.

On Monday, I lost my keys and was upset about the effort and cost to replace them. Out of the blue, on Wednesday, I received an email from my local library saying that they have my keys. A kind stranger had found my keys at the train station, had noticed the library card and then taken the effort to return them to the library. The librarians took the time to look me up, notify me and hold on to the keys, despite the liability. I was elated and very thankful to these kind strangers.

During the same week, I remarked to some colleagues about how our building's receptionist always welcomes me with a cheerful greeting every morning and then opens the elevator door for me. All my coworkers chimed in with deep appreciation of how she brightens their days too. One person said he brought in his baby during his paternity leave just to say hi to her.

In Silicon Valley, impact and success is often defined and celebrated by its scale - "how many millions of users did you help". It becomes easy to forget that simple and small acts of kindness towards individuals or small groups - helping a coworker with a task, returning a lost item to its owner, calling a family member on their birthday, babysitting for a friend, being patient and forgiving, giving a bright smile or supportive words to someone who's having a rough day - can mean a lot too.

We are all in this together - we were born on this strange planet, with strange rules and are trying to live a happy and good life. We have similar struggles, ups and downs, and needs. We can help each other by being kind, compassionate and helpful to one another. These acts bring a sense of support, joy and meaning to both the giver and receiver.

Start practicing by intentionally trying to do one act of kindness to make someone's day brighter every day.

Let's be excellent to each other.