My father was a Boy Scout. An Eagle Scout actually. He taught me from an early age, “Always leave the campsite cleaner than you found it.” This is good advice. A good way to live. The idea being, that when you clean up your campsite at the end of your stay, clean up anything you brought, or discarded, or left behind. But also, if you should see a soda can or cigarette butt or crumpled piece of paper tossed aside by someone else, clean that up too. Don’t just leave it there because you’re not the one that dropped it in the first place. Make sure that your presence at that campsite results in leaving it in an even better condition than you found it.

This advice can, and should, be applied to most anything in life. Whether it’s picking up garbage as you walk your dog, putting a fallen loaf of bread back on the shelf at the grocery store, or taking the time to turn in a stray mitten to the lost & found. On a different level, “leaving the campsite cleaner than you found it” can (and again, should) be applied to our interactions with other people. In our relationships with loved ones, co-workers, and strangers, we should strive to add something positive, pleasant, encouraging, or helpful to our interactions.

What is this touch-feely advice doing on our marketing blog, you might ask? What does this have to do with your business? Could be, should be…a lot! Applying this cleaner-campsite-philosophy to your interactions with clients, customers, co-workers and associates can have far reaching benefits. A key, however, is that you’re not doing these kindnesses to get a benefit. When you have a self-serving ulterior motive, people can usually see right through that. Do the right thing, simply because it’s the right thing to do.

If you provide financial services, but see that your client could benefit from some legal advice, refer them to a trusted associate. If you own a bakery and your customer is placing their usual order for oatmeal cookies, but inquiring about your new cupcakes, give them one for free. Where you have the opportunity to support other entrepreneurs, do that! We need each other to succeed. Whether through referrals, sharing your time and experience or making networking introductions, your kindness will (almost) always be appreciated and (often) be reciprocated.

We live in an age when many people avoid direct human interactions in place of disappearing into their handheld, laptop, or desktop devices. Try using your necktop device! (See what I did there?) Look people in the eye, shake their hand, smile. Relate with your fellow human beings and do something nice for someone. It’ll be good for your business and good for your soul.