Last week I found this quote on Elizabeth Gilbert’s Instagram feed:
“Make it happen. Shock every single one of them.”
Think about it. What if we went through our day and thought how am I going to shock someone today? Much of the time we try to just make it through the day, but what if we raised the bar and made things happen? What if we went into each meeting or presentation and were completely focused and wowed folks because we pulled it off? What if we did the impossible? Or maybe it is not even impossible — maybe it is just something that left a wow factor. It could be the smallest, slightest moment that left a mark and was remembered.
The funny thing is the moments that are remembered are often the ones that are actually easy and often free to pull off. You might have made an effort to actually listen and remember key details from someone’s life. You asked about it the next time you see that individual. So easy, and just requires pure listening, and yet it has such an impact. I always notice when someone has taken the time to get to know me and then later (sometimes even months later) remembers a piece of our conversation. I try to do the same to others, but it is hard when you go from meeting to meeting all day. And yet, doing so shows true connection, relationship building, and care.
I am a get-it-done woman. I rarely let anything stand in my way. As Chris would say to me, “There is no changing your mind when you have made a decision you are going to do something.” He is right. I like to approach life with conviction, persistence, and, as I often say, by sucking the life out of each day. I want to bring that same zeal when shocking and wowing others. Think of all the times you have been wowed by amazing customer service, by friends and family who surprise you, or a stranger that does a random act of kindness. The key ingredient: someone showing you they care.
I am not a fan of walking into a mall before Thanksgiving and seeing Christmas decorations or hearing Christmas music on the radio. You know the drill. One holiday at a time. I know each year they start earlier and earlier and this year, because Thanksgiving falls so late, it means there is a short three-week window between Thanksgiving and Christmas. So I am the LAST person to talk about Christmas before Thanksgiving. However…
…yes, I am breaking my own hardcore rules. I could not resist sharing some laughter and Christmas hilarity before Thanksgiving. About a year ago I wrote a blog on “Poo-pourri.” Well, I have a Christmas update for you. Father Christmas, Santa, whatever you call him. You grow up leaving him a plate of cookies and milk or egg nog. Over the years you start to wonder how does he get into my house if we have no chimney? How does he carry all those toys on his back on a sleigh and still be able to fly all over the world — that would be too many toys. Did you ever ask yourself if he ever made a pit stop that night? After all those milk and cookies did you ever think that he might have had to take a poo?
There are clever lines galore inside this three-minute masterpiece, not to mention all the sound effects and extremely clever lines like: “The ghost of Christmas ass; Gingerbread Manslaughter; I have been holding this since Dubai; So you can keep sneaking without reeking; Your dingleberries will smell like jingleberries.” I am still laughing…
As a blogger, there are a few blogs that I frequent either daily, weekly, or whenever a post is published. I find inspiration in the ideas shared, the writing style, and sometimes just like reading a memoir might jog your memory to a special moment in your past so do posts from fellow bloggers. I found Shauna Niequist’s blog last year after reading her book: “Bread & Wine.”
I then wrote a blog post sharing the Blueberry Crisp recipe from her book. I cannot count how many times we have indulged in that fine dish. I need to make sure I have more blueberries in the fridge as it is the perfect fall treat, and it has been a little while since we had it for Sunday dinner just as Niequist does.
“Because scrolling isn’t the same as connecting. And connection is what we’re longing for.”
Oh how often I feel that when late at night I peruse Facebook or Instagram and scroll, sometimes in a mind numbing and voyeuristic way. What if instead of scrolling and scrolling, I chose to contact that individual and tell them I was thinking about them? Earlier in her blog post she says:
“When I feel the impulse to scroll through images and updates about other people’s lives, what I’m finding is under that impulse to scroll is a desire to connect.”
I have to agree. Why do we get so addicted to social media? Is it to see and be seen? Is it to connect? What aspect of our lives have we lost because our first means to communicate is sometimes the most disconnected from human interaction. It is the sterile, lifeless, cold version. If we want to bring life back to our worlds and share warmth and support in a time of need then stop scrolling, pick up the phone, go next door or down the hall, and connect.
Be sure to go back and read Niequist’s post. It might just change the way you think today.
Sometimes we live in little bubbles. We get in our cars in the morning (or maybe on a bike, or via public transit) and go off to work. Some days we highly engage with others, and some days we may never leave our desk, but often the routine is the same. We spend our days in a fairly similar fashion, and then turn around and come home, partake in our evening activities, go to bed and turn around and do it all over again the next day. We all have our own form of a bubble, just some of us have larger or smaller bubbles than others.
Yet, we have the ability to pop those bubbles, to expand and grow our horizons, learn new things, or never take the same route home each day. Our lives are weaved together each moment of every day. Our choices build the story of what others think of us, good or bad. If we are continuously dependable others will begin to depend on us. If we do not show up as continuously dependable then trust begins to erode. We always have a choice to how we show up, and how we tell our own stories.
I wrote a blog post last year titled: “Brand YOU” and discuss how we each create our own brands, and decide how we market ourselves. I recently finished reading Austin Kleon’s newest book: “Show Your Work” and well I am always a sucker for inspiration around telling a story, specifically when it relates to a personal story. This idea specifically resonates with me:
“Your work doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Whether you realize it or not, you’re already telling a story about your work. Every email you send, every text, every conversation, every blog comment, every tweet, every photo, every video–they’re all bits and pieces of a multimedia narrative you’re constantly constructing. If you want to be more effective when sharing yourself and your work, you need to become a better storyteller. You need to know what a good story is and how to tell one.” page 95
Pop your bubble, remember that every interaction you have is a line in your story, and how you tell your story (via in person, Instagram, Facebook, etc) is part of the Brand you are weaving. Now with the Internet that weave is permanent and hard to unravel, so put some thought around the mark you want to make.
I have been seeing a ton of folks embark on 100 Happy Days, and I think it is time I joined them. I mean why not right? I know the next few weeks/months are going to be crazy for me, and so why not add another thing to the mix? I have been wanting to begin taking more pictures, and if I do this challenge, my Instagram connections might hate me after I show them how boring the next 100 days will be and how much I work, but oh well.
Have you heard of 100 Happy Days? It is a challenge that is meant to get you to share a photo of what made you happy that day for the next 100 days. They have set it up so you can share your photos publicly or privately, but the main idea is that you focus on what made you happy that day. Here are results from the challenge that were listed on their website:
“Start noticing what makes them happy every day:
Be in a better mood every day;
Be in a better mood every day;
Start receiving more compliments from other people;
Realize how lucky they are to have the life they have;
Become more optimistic;
Fall in love during the challenge.”
Often at the end of the day I will write in a journal, as a way to decompress from the day. (Really it starts with my run when I get home from work, and the writing comes just before bed). I process, explore, and resolve my world through the words that come out of my fingertips. There are moments of gratitude, moments of frustration, and moments of aha. 100 Happy Days will take it one step further to require me to notice those happy moments as they happen, and not as I recollect them at the end of the day.