Can kindness be a profession? For Michael Chase it sure is. As an author and inspirational speaker, Michael started The Kindness Center (www.thekindnesscenter.com) to spread his message of kindness. Michael’s teaching in its simplest form focuses on three areas of kindness, kindness to your self, others and the planet. But you can’t go to college and major in Kindness, so how did Michael do it?
Michael’s journey started with much unkindness. Generations of Michael’s family, especially the men, spread unkindness. Through his teen and adult years, Michael was pretty unhappy on the inside. But he pushed on and developed a very successful portrait photography business with his wife. On the outside things looked great. He had the successful business, two cars, boat, great son, but still inner peace eluded him.
Searching for a deeper meaning to it all, Michael became a Borders regular of the Self-Help section. It brings up a laugh for Michael as he thinks about how messed up the staff must of thought we was. The area of personal development became his obsession and he loved researching the great authors, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Ram Dass, Eckhart Tolle, just to name a few.
But all the self-help education could not prepare Michael for a tragedy that shook his core. In 2000, Michael’s father committed suicide. Michael struggled with a 6-month deep depression. He found solace in the authors he had studied and at the end of the six months, Michael vowed to himself and his father that he was going to heal himself and others.
Not sure how to do this, Michael began to read more. Hundreds of books he researched applying their principals to his own life. As he started to implement these changes he could feel the shift. He began to love himself and his confidence started to soar. People around him started to notice. In the grocery store he would quite often find himself having heart-to-heart conversations with strangers.
And then in the spring of 2007, Michael had what he calls the “turtle incident. It happened while driving with his wife. Michael was in the passenger seat immersed in his reading when suddenly the car was swerving. You see there was a turtle in the middle of the road. They pulled over and Michael ran out to help the turtle cross the road. As he walked up to the turtle he thought about how nice, how kind, his wife was to save him. It was in that moment, as he held this little guy he realized he met his guru. A wave of emotion and inspiration washed over him. He thanked his guru and rushed back to the car and wrote the following “kindness creates happiness.”
It turns out that this little turtle took Michael out of his analytical mind and into his heart. On that day something sparked and Michael knew he would make kindness a way of life. Within six months of meeting his hard-shelled guru, Michael had sold his photography business and all the equipment. There was no going back. He had no clue how it would happen, but the knowing in this heart is what propelled him. And The Kindness Center was born (http://thekindnesscenter.com)
This knowing even propelled him to address one of his biggest fears, public speaking. He knew that if he wanted to get his message of kindness to the world and bring in some money, he would have to start speaking. The fear was overtaken for the love of the message.
Though the speaking gigs were coming from schools and organizations, Michael knew he needed something big, unique to expand his message. The inspiration came form the TV show 24. “How about 24 hours kindness,” Michael thought. 24 hours of giving kindness to anyone who needs it. Anyone who will accept it. An event where Michael could really practice what he preaches. Michael took this idea to the local media. Local TV and newspapers contacted Michael. Even an Australian TV station caught wind of it. The event, held on April 15, 2008, brought energy to the message and to Michael (check out the video here, http://thekindnesscenter.com/the_kindness_center/Videos.html)
Michael self-published a book in the beginning of 2009. He chose the self-publishing route because deep down, he wanted his book to be published by one publisher and that was Hay House. Beginning a devotee of Hay House, Michael was on their email list for upcoming events and conferences. When he read about one particular conference called Movers & Shakers, Michael knew he needed to attend. The objective of the conference, to take your message to the next level, is just what Michael was looking for. He knew he needed to go. Unfortunately with the recession and school budgets being cut, Michael didn’t think that he could afford to go to the conference.
But then a good friend stepped in who wanted to pay for him to attend the conference. At first, Michael declined, but then he realized his friend was extending kindness to him. Accepting kindness is something he teaches. So he accepted her kindness and off to the conference he went.
The conference was attended and run by Hay House elite; Cheryl Richardson, NY Times Best Selling Author and Life Coach, Reid Tracy, President and CEO of Hay House, Inc and the founder of Hay House and Best Selling Author, Louise Hay. Michael was randomly chosen to deliver a five-minute talk at the conference about his work and The Kindness Center. When he was done the room exploded. He knocked it out of the park.
A few days later, Michael received an email from Reid Tracy asking for a copy of his self-published book. He is now under contract with Hay House and his book “Am I Being Kind,” will be release on April 15, 2011. Which is the three-year anniversary of the first 24 Hours of Kindness.
SOUL Survey Questions
How do you stay focused and motivated?
Each day I look at inspiration (being inspired) in the same way most people look at brushing their teeth, showering, eating, etc. Being personally and spiritually energized is a must for me. Through inspiring books, meditation, yoga, writing, listening to music and walking almost two hours each day, I am able to stay in a positive flow of energy.
How do you deal with naysayers?
Luckily I’ve never really listened to the voices of non-dreamers. I have found that the critics are usually the ones dissatisfied with their own lives and have a difficult time with other people who dare to dream. But rather than be angry with people who criticize my dreams, I tend to feel compassion. My heart breaks for anyone who chooses to settle and not follow their hearts desire…
How do you blur the lines between work and play?
My work is my life…and my life is my work. Each day I make it my intention to live by Gandhi’s words of; “My life is my message” and “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” As a result, I NEVER take a day off. Basically, I need to practice what I preach every single day. Congruency is the ultimate way to inspire others while also living the life of your dreams.