A Great Word

Bill Abbate

Imagine possessing a quality that endears you to other people. Because of it, they see you as friendly, helpful, kind, and benevolent, believing you are good and decent.

When you have this quality, you develop a good reputation. You are respected and valued, becoming highly esteemed, admired, and appreciated.

What is such a quality called? Read on to learn more about this magnificent word!

The word

While seldom used today, you likely know the word well and the organization that uses it as its name. But the sense of the word’s meaning has been largely lost.

The word now only seems to represent a $7.4 billion enterprise operating in almost every town across America and many countries.

Unfortunately, because the word fell out of use and an organization uses it for its name, it possesses little meaning to most people other than a place to donate old clothes and household items. However, the company rates highly as a charity and creates much goodwill across the nation and worldwide.

If you guessed the company name is Goodwill Industries, you are correct. If you didn’t guess it, you may want to get out more!

What is goodwill?

“I am a Citizen of the World, and my Nationality isGoodwill.”Socrates (c. 470–399 BC)

Goodwill is a wonderful word and one that is much needed today. It has personal and business meanings and is defined as follows:

goodwill — noun:1.friendly, helpful, or cooperative feelings or attitude2. the established reputation of a business regarded as a quantifiable asset… Oxford Languages

We will steer clear of goodwill as a business term for the remainder of this article and focus on its personal use.

The real meaning of goodwill always has been and remains a powerful word. Anyone who builds it in their life and the lives of others will benefit greatly.

Many people have created incredible goodwill. Some of those in recent history who have built tremendous goodwill include Billy Graham, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, and Mahatma Gandhi. While you don’t have to be a famous humanitarian to earn the goodwill of others, it does help.

One of the most well-known uses of the term dates back 2,000 years to the time of Christ:

“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace,goodwilltoward men!” Luke 2:14 NKJV

Every Christmas, we hear the word in the old song I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day based on a Longfellow poem:

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day Their old, familiar carols play, And wild and sweet The words repeat Of peace on earth,good-willto men!” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882)

Building goodwill

How can you build goodwill? First, realize it only exists in relationships, and like building any relationship, it takes time to build goodwill.

Goodwill goes both ways — your goodwill towards someone else and their goodwill towards you. Your aim should be to build goodwill in every relationship, especially those you value.

“Money, or even power, can never yield happinessunless it be accompanied by the goodwill of others.” B. C. Forbes (1880–1954)

A few things you can do to build and earn goodwill include:

  • Being trustworthy
  • Maintaining a good and positive attitude at all times
  • Always being kind and treating others fairly
  • Serving and lifting others up
  • Being respectful and mature
  • Developing a heart of joy, full of gratitude and appreciation for who you are becoming and for those in your life
  • Knowing your purpose and living it out to the best of your ability
  • Not rushing into a relationship but allowing it to play out at its own pace

While these are only a few ways to build and earn the goodwill of others in life, adding anything that creates or enhances a relationship in a good way will help.

“Show charity andgoodwillto others and it will return to enhance your own life in many wonderful ways.” Bryan Adams (1959-present)

Think about some of the people who express goodwill towards you. Who are they? Your parents, spouse, children, family, good friends, boss, and colleagues may be among them.

Now, think about those with whom you express goodwill towards. How have you treated them? What have they done to earn it?

Why not take a few minutes to list some of the people with whom you have earned goodwill?

Some people I have earned goodwill with include my wife, siblings, many in my family, several former colleagues, and some of my old friends. How do I know for sure? Besides feeling it in my being, I can tell by how they treat me and know they will do anything to help me.

Goodwill is a beautiful thing!

Final thoughts

“Goodwill to others is constructive thought.It helps build you up. It is good for your body. It makes your blood purer, your muscles stronger, and your whole form more symmetrical in shape. It is the real elixir of life. The more such thought you attract to you, the more life you will have.” Prentice Mulford (1834–1891)

What is not to like about the word goodwill? While often written as two words in the past, don’t you love how they come together with so much meaning?

Goodwill enriches your life when you have it toward others, and they have it toward you. It greatly adds to any relationship and is something to strive to create with those you care about.

Can you imagine anyone not wanting to create the good that goodwill brings to life? Let’s rescue and resuscitate this wonderful word, making it great again!

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Semi-Retired-Leadership/Executive Coach -Personal & Career Growth Expert -Editor and Leadership Writer at Illumination -Author

Richmond, VA

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