Give First and Give Often

It seems that very few days pass without hearing people complain about how we’re losing some of what’s great about Seattle as our growth barrels forward. A big part of that Seattle culture is people of all walks of life being joined in appreciation for how Seattle people treat each other.

Our success and joy the past 2 1/2 years has happened as we’ve reaped the benefits of giving first and giving often. If you want to help prevent Seattle turning into a smaller version of what’s not working in San Francisco, this seems like an easy and impactful place to start.

Small acts of kindness and generosity help others, but they also help you. Looking for opportunities to give in small and large ways will create bright spots in your day, put a smile on your face and create connections with fellow Seattleites that make our city greater.

carnegie-medal-for-philanthropyAs Paul Allen receives a Carnegie Medal for Philanthropic efforts it’s a reminder of how many great leaders Seattle spawns who give back to make our community better. We can each give in different ways that make a difference and make Seattle a better place to live.

Growing pains that include traffic issues (though we’re still way behind LA and SF), congestion and housing costs are beyond our daily control. But curbing rudeness, road rage, bike rage and pedestrian rage are issues that we can positively impact.

My wife grew up here and is amazed at how inconsiderate drivers have become. People used to easily let you in when you signaled a lane change, rather than have them speed up in order to not let you in. Holding doors for others was a common Seattle courtesy that’s dwindled away as our population grows. But it doesn’t have to go away. If you hold the door for someone, chances are good they will return the favor for someone else. Courtesy is contagious – so let’s spread it around!

By helping however we can, those cumulative efforts will add up to being part of the solution to maintaining Seattle’s longstanding culture of kindness. It’s useless to just complain about how Seattle is changing in negative ways.

There will always be growing pains. But we don’t have to accept rude and selfish behavior as a by-product of growth. Instead, let’s hold onto the personality of this beautiful city and state by stepping up to the plate with our own best selves.

Kindness and generosity are just as contagious, maybe more so, than intolerance, rudeness and selfishness. How we run our companies and what we do with our time and earnings sets a tone for everyone we hire, partner with, sell to or otherwise engage.

Kindness and generosity are powerful behaviors that motivate and inspire other people – and that’s what being a Seattleite is all about.

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