Episode 131: Show Notes
Today on the show we have Carrie McQuaid. If we could describe her in any way, Carrie is truly a kindness spreader. She loves pink, Taylor Swift, confetti, having fun and traveling the world to speak to companies and colleges about the power of kindness and generosity. She is head over heals in love with mason jars, sweet tea and rocking chairs on a front porch. A classic Southern belle at heart. Picture fresh flowers, polka dots and stripes, a day filled with love, laughter and spreading joy to others around — that’s Carrie!
In this episode, Carrie comes with some pretty fantastic ideas for business owners, entrepreneurs and just human beings in general and how we can be nicer people, helping fellow strangers (even in the Target parking lot). She also shares her story of viral kindness success. You might have heard of her on the little Southwest Airlines birthday party that she threw? This is a really upbeat episode and if you have ever wanted to start implementing small acts of kindness in your every day or in your business, Carrie comes full with ideas for you to take away and start implementing right now. So let’s jump in and spread some kindness around like confetti!
A Viral Sensation: Carrie’s Kindness Party on the Plane
Carrie often travels for work and one day started planning a trip out to the West Coast. She realized that in order to get out to California on the dates she had planned, she was going to have to either travel on her birthday or the day before. So instead of spending her birthday alone, she decided to bring everyone on the plane goodie bags. Since she is such a rule follower, she started planning the party by reaching out to Southwest Airlines. She filled 185 goodie bags with balloons, stickers, and some candy plus a cute little card of kindness. On the plane, the flight attendants got in on the fun and helped her hand out her goodie bags to every person on the plan to get the party started! Since it was a flight to Vegas, it was already a party plane. The whole experience ended up being such a connection point, showing that you have to go out of your comfort zone to bring kindness into this world.
How the Plane Party Went Viral
The viral sensation all started from Carrie’s desire to connect with the flight attendants afterward. First, she tweeted the story out and Southwest Airlines retweeted it. Then people on Instagram who saw the story started messaging local news anchors and the comments on the story blew up. Emails started coming in and Carrie even did an interview with her local radio station a few days after. For Carrie, her viral story was more of a gradual growth rather than an overnight success. It has had this long shelf-life with film crews coming to her house and a local news crew to run the story, even after she was gone for a whole two weeks! In her words, the experience was truly “wild”.
Turning an Experience Into a Speaking Opportunity
Never in a million years did Carrie think that throwing a party on a plane would lead to her talking to YMCA CEO’s 6 months down the line. Now she tells the story to other people to inspire them to love other people. To become a speaker, Carrie truly had to give herself permission to do it and pursue it. She took it into her own hands by pitching herself and her story to organizations. At the core, Carrie’s message is so basic and innate to her. However, the key is giving people concrete examples of how to be more kind and generous. Another key topic that Carrie gets into is “invisible pain” — emotional scars that aren’t necessarily seen on the outside. She lives by the mindset to assume that everyone has invisible pain and tries to listen to their story instead.
Choosing Kindness As a Life Path
Although Carrie sees her life of kinds as “normal”, it goes way above and beyond what is normal in the everyday life. The story that really is the catalyst for her choosing kindness as a life path is when she was in high school they had to have 50 hours of service credit in order to graduate. Carrie chose to volunteer at a hospital delivering cards. In her time there, she got to watch people open cards in front of her and see them experience home simply from words. She also watched people lose their lives, which was such a life lesson that made her live a more strategic life, striving to always do her best work today. Her philosophy today stems around those valuable lessons that within each of us we have the power to bring hope to others. Life is short so we only have today.
The Strategic Balance: Creating Moments of Kindness
As an entrepreneur, you often have these block schedules and your life is super busy! We are always feeling behind because as the owner of your business, there is ALWAYS something else on the to-do list. There’s an email to send. There’s a call to make and the list goes on. In order to be strategic with her schedule, Carrie always tries to buffer in 5 to 10 minutes instead of over-booking herself. This leaves room for creating moments to be kind to others. According to Carrie, all you need to do to give someone a helping hand is to stand in the parking lot at Target for a few minutes and you are guaranteed to see someone who needs your help. Just having these blocks of time where you’re really strategic while creating those crucial moments for you to set yourself up for success. Instead of simply reacting to life, you are being proactive and going out there to make these moments happen on purpose! Those extra five minutes can change someone’s life.
Getting Rid of Distractions to Increase Kindness
So often we have a dialogue in our head that prevents us from taking action. All the questions and self-talk allow fear to creep in and instead of helping out, we disqualify ourselves. We make excuses or mismanage our schedules to talk us out of giving someone a helping hand. Many times we downplay the impact we can potentially have on the lives of others and think we aren’t qualified enough to help. When it comes down to it, we are not here to solve each other’s problems; we can’t fix each other. We’ve all got our own messes but we can definitely make messes a little easier for someone else. It’s simply about acknowledging other people and their pain, saying something encouraging and simply being nice. Just start small, schedule kindness into your life and get going!
- Hear the story of when Carrie threw a party on the plane for her birthday. [0:03:02.1]
- How Carrie’s plane party went viral and had a long shelf-life. [0:14:08.1]
- Find out how Carrie was able to turn her plane party into a speaking opportunity. [0:18:00.1]
- The catalyst behind why Carrie chose to live a life of kindness and teaching others about generosity. [0:25:31.1]
- Carrie’s strategies for building in moments and opportunities for kindness in her schedule. [0:28:06.1]
- Understand how you can get rid of distractions to increase kindness and stop disqualifying yourself. [0:34:29.1]
- Celebrate people.
- Schedule in acts of kindness.
- Push the limits of your comfort zone.