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Nicole Phillips, Published January 31 2014

Kindness Is Contagious: A 33-second voicemail could make someone's day

I have a strict personal voicemail system. I keep messages on my phone until I make the decision to a) call the person back or b) ignore the person.

Yep, that’s the kindness lady just being honest. Tell me you don’t do the same thing!

There is one message that has been sitting in my voice mailbox since Dec. 5, 2012. Yes, it’s been more than a year. You see, this message falls into another category: kindness.

Let me set the scene: I had been serving as the volunteer executive director for Diva Connection Foundation (now Women’s Impact) for more than a year. I had just worked my tail off writing a grant proposal. The people in charge of giving out the grant money drove to Fargo from Minneapolis to talk with us in person and learn more about the organization. I was psyched. We were incredibly close to taking the nonprofit to a whole new level.

Then the bad news came. We had not been chosen. There would be no money to further our mission, just more blood, sweat and tears as we passionately worked to empower the women in our midst to become leaders in our community.

I was devastated.

That’s when I got a call from Pat Traynor. He runs Dakota Medical Foundation and Impact Foundation and was instrumental in getting us off the ground. I heard the phone ring, I knew it was him, and I was too sad to answer.

Here’s the message he left on my voicemail:

“Hey, I thought you guys did a great job. I just want you to know, just because a foundation doesn’t want to fund you yet doesn’t mean that you aren’t on to something spectacular and that you haven’t done an outstanding job. I just want to tell you that I care. I think you’ve done an outstanding job, and I think you’re a world-class, first-class, top-grade, wonderful and awesome individual. Keep up the great work! I’m proud of you!”

This Fargo man I greatly respect took 33 seconds out of his day to call me, and the words he said meant so much that I haven’t been able to let them go.

Your words have power. You have the ability to show great kindness by using those words to lift up the people around you. It costs you nothing and takes less than a minute of your time.

Just in case you are the one who could use some encouraging words today, let me say: You are a world-class, first-class, top-grade, wonderful, awesome individual. Keep up the great work! I’m proud of you!

Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at info@nicolejphillips.com. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND, 58107.

Nicole J. Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is an author, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole is married to Bison Men’s Head Basketball Coach Saul Phillips. Her columns run every Saturday. You can also get a Daily Dose of Inspiration from Nicole at www.nicolejphillips.com.