Gandhi said, "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."
And one of the most effective ways to serve is through small acts of kindness developed into everyday habits. They may seem like little things, but most of us can recall a time when a seemingly little thing--a kind word, a helping hand--has made a memorable mark and a big difference.
Here are some simple ideas on how you can leave your mark:
1. Give your undivided attention. Be present and available to those you're with.
2. Be a problem solver. Become known as a person who has solutions and answers--or who knows where to find them.
3. Remember people's names. It makes them feel valued and leaves a great impression.
4. Ask "How can I help?" Be the person who is always willing. Just the offer communicates that you value someone.
5. Set high standards. Let others always see you doing and giving your best.
6. Make your contribution greater than your reward. Always give a little more than you get.
7. Lead with integrity, no matter how much it costs. It's the right thing to do in any case, but it also makes it easier for those who see you to do the same.
8. Smile. A smile is an invitation to connect.
9. Compliment the person in the first 30 seconds of the conversation. Pick something specific and personal. It will make the person feel valued.
10. Make people feel good about themselves. Acknowledge their gifts and talents.
11. Listen silently. Listen is an anagram of silent. Try to listen without interrupting.
12. Make eye contact. As the saying goes, the eyes are the window to the soul. When you can look someone square in the eye, you are saying you value the person and want to connect.
13. Show respect. It's the bottom-line due of every person you meet.
14. Share the credit. When something important has been accomplished, share the credit. Remember, nothing great was ever accomplished alone.
15. Talk with people, not at them. Engage people by truly connecting with them.
16. Send it. When you discover an article, blog post, or book that you think someone can benefit from, send it with a personal text or note. Forward information that adds value and brings benefit to others, and let them know why you thought they would find it helpful.
17. Dream big for others. Instill a passion in them that they can be more and do more.
18. Stay away from toxicity. Help others learn what is toxic in their lives and how to avoid it.
19. Don't hesitate. Try to be the first person to reach out to someone when you think the person might need help.
20. Keep a positive attitude. Attitude is contagious, so spread only good feelings.
21. Celebrate special occasions. Remember people's birthdays and anniversaries; make a point of sending them a note or a card, giving them a call. Even a quick text is thoughtful. Use technology to help you remember.
22. Help people focus on their strengths, not their weaknesses. Point out their strengths and unique qualities, and gently help them with the parts they are struggling with.
23. Send handwritten notes. It's much more personal and shows you have invested time in expressing yourself.
24. Give without being asked. As long as you know it's appropriate, do something helpful without being asked.
25. Always bring something to the table. Resources, ideas, opportunities--even an article or a good quote can communicate your interest and investment.
26. Give people your trust. It is the foundation of all great relationships.
27. Communicate appropriately. Adapt your communication to fit the time, place, and person. Not everything deserves the same attention.
28. Highlight what may be overlooked. Make a point of noticing the things that others may not notice.
29. Make meaningful connections. Don't always talk about work; ask about something personal that is meaningful and appropriate.
30. Be on time. When you are on time, you show respect for others.
31. Go the extra mile. If you're already in the habit of performing small acts of kindness, think of ways to go further. Extra effort makes people feel extra good.
32. Be a sounding board. Be available if someone wants to run ideas or think things through. Offer help when blind spots occur or new ideas are needed. Help take someone else's thinking to a new level.
33. Give someone a special task and watch the person accomplish it. Let people know you believe in them by making them stretch. Valuing someone goes a long way.
34. Express deep appreciation for the ways that people add value to your life. People often have a hard time taking compliments, but acknowledging their strengths and work is a concrete way of making them feel good.
35. Renew confidence. Everyone struggles; find ways to bolster someone's confidence.
36. Treat people the way you want to be treated. This is the most fundamental rule of being with others.
37. Be sincere in your sincerity. It's not something you can fake.
38. Pay it forward. Model generosity and kindness always.
39. Offer constructive feedback. Feedback is a gift when it's presented positively.
40. Delegate. It makes people feel valued and empowered.
41. Catch people doing something right. And then praise them for it or otherwise show that you noticed.
42. Invite people to be part of a cause that is greater than they are. Invite them to dream big and play even bigger.
43. Don't keep score. Give because you want to give and not because you're adding up the tally.
44. Make it win-win. Supporting others isn't a zero-sum game.
45. Don't let people down. Keep your promises and commitments.
46. Bring your best. Give everything you do your best effort. It matters.
47. Meet people halfway. There is always a way to work through a conflict.
48. Add value constantly. It takes discipline and sacrifice, but it's worth the effort.
49. Start a movement. Inspire others to inspire others.
50. Live every day like it was your last. Show that you cherish your life and those around you.
Imagine what could happen if we spend our time bringing value to others--even if we do one thing on a daily basis. Remember, the smallest gesture can make a big difference and leave the deepest mark.