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Jeff Kuske

Bartow, USA

Empathetic

Connect with Jeff

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Everyone has a story that has served as part of making them who they have become. Our LVIKA Mayor, Jeff Kuske’s story wasn’t always about the pursuit of kindness. “There’s a cloud for every silver lining” – that was his motto; one in which there was no light at the end of the tunnel, just more endless tunnel. Living a life filled with darkness and despair doesn’t bring with it many happy mornings or a reason to get out of bed. But even the greatest darkness can be broken by a tiny flicker of light. Who would have thought that the light could be found simply by looking in a bathroom mirror and questioning how you got there, “Why are you so miserable and why are you allowing yourself to live this life?” Those were the words Jeff uttered as he stared himself down in the mirror and saw beyond his reflection; in that moment he saw his potential. The person he could become if only he exercised a bit more faith in himself, and a bit more faith in people.

Jeff, an original member of the group, has seen the ambassadors evolve from just a few people to over a thousand individuals dedicated to living in kindness. The role of Mayor affords him the opportunity to grow as a person and be part of changing the world by working with like minded people across the globe, many of whom he talks to everyday. Soon Jeff will also be traveling to NYC for his first visit to LVI HQ to meet his kindness hero, LVI founder Orly Wahba.

It was by consciously embracing the positive that Jeff began to be a participant in life giving up his role as spectator. Likening negativity to a fast spreading cancer that must be treated before it overwhelms the person, Jeff believes the power of kindness is the cure for negativity. He learned that changing his perspective not only improved his experience but amazingly physical conditions that were the result of ongoing negativity and stress disappeared. Changing his habits was a daunting challenge which took time and effort as he pushed himself to take opportunities that were beyond his usual comfort level. Now being kind is automatic, simply part of living the kindness lifestyle. Jeff has even changed his motto to “lift as you climb because the view at the top is better with company.”

His work in the mental health field opened his eyes to how many people are in need of kindness and has fuelled his passion to ensure people have a place they can feel comfortable asking for the help they desperately need, even if it’s one kind word. He’s proud the ambassador facebook group encourages a safe place to be vulnerable, while finding inspiration, encouragement and kindness.

There is no immunity to experiencing hardships that require asking for and accepting help, but that doesn’t make it easy. Jeff recently found himself in this position and though he has given so much kindness unconditionally to so many, he was finding it an incredible challenge to reach out for help himself. Orly offered perspective with one simple question, “How do you feel when you are kind?” Jeff knew he felt great whenever he was kind and Orly, in her usual wisdom, gently showed the way, “Now it’s your turn to let them feel great.” Learning to receive kindness is as great a gift as learning to give kindness.

Describing our ambassador program to others can be a challenge because it’s something you really need to experience for yourself, but Jeff feels the best way to describe it is that we’re family. As others observe his kindness lifestyle approach and find out about LVI, it’s not surprising the kindness bug tends to bite them too.

Interestingly, an offer of kindness doesn’t come with a guarantee of acceptance. Even with the best of intentions Jeff admits occasionally people have been put off by his kind gestures. He laughs at the idea that would ever stop him in his pursuit of kindness because:

quote-openKindness is a lifestyle, it’s just who I am.
It defines me. Not everyone is in tune with what
we do, but the more we do what we do, the more
people are going to understand it.
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That’s what living and spreading the kindness lifestyle is all about.

– Interviewed by Jewel Fries

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MY KINDNESS WISH:

My kindness wish is to pursue a career where I can make an even larger impact by spreading kindness and having a positive effect on people around the world.

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FUN FACTS:

Favorite Song:
Piano Man by Billy Joel has special meaning

Favorite Hobby:
Cooking

Favorite Vacation Spot:
Italy, because the food is prepared with love

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FUN FACTS:

Q. How do you incor­porate kindness into your everyday life?

A. Appreciation empowers people to do more of what they’re doing and I like to show kindness in simple ways like saying please and thank you.

Q. What is your favorite way to lift someone’s spirits?

A. I like to make people laugh often by laughing at myself.

Q. What does being an ambassador mean to you?

A. It’s being part of a family.