By GGTW co-founder and contributing editor Tricia Yacovone-Biagi
“We are going to change your day.”
That’s what Katie, my hair stylist told me when I arrived almost 15 minutes late to my appointment. I had called in to say I would be late, but I was stressed and annoyed by the time I got there. I was in the midst of moving and felt like I was losing a grip on life.
Katie stopped what she was doing to come greet me when I got there anyway. “Well, you’ve been having a morning,” she said with a smile. Yep. For about two weeks.
She thought for a moment, then said, “We are going to Change. Your. Day.” She paused and emphasized each word as if it were a mantra.
Right on cue, the receptionist brought me tea, made sure I was comfortable, and Katie figured out what else they could do to make my experience in her salon a day-changer.
Then, she made that happen. Which the skeptics in the room might say is her job. To which I would counter: True, but it is so much more than that. The whole salon feels like an oasis of affirmation and positivity, and I do feel better just for walking in the door.
So, as I sat there waiting for the teal dye to do its thing to my highlights, I started to wonder why the place felt that way. And as I wondered, I remembered a conversation I had a couple of months ago with GGTW co-founder Amanda about how the little things really do matter to people.
Amanda and I had a client many years ago whom we loved working with because he was personable, funny, pragmatic, and straightforward. We were able to solve a lot of the problems he asked us to help with, and in exchange, he gave us a lot of work. It was a mutually beneficial arrangement, and we shared many successes. I mentioned something about how fun that was, and that’s when Amanda remembered to tell me about his untimely death. He was young and successful, apparently healthy enough and all, so I figured it was an accident or an aneurism or something. But sadly, it was not.
Like 45,000 other people in the US, he had taken his own life, and we were stunned. We wondered how someone who seemed positive, successful, and humorous would reach that level of despair, just like the extraordinary Robin Williams, the talented Kate Spade, my favorite chef-crush Anthony Bourdain, and the father of a dear friend had. We talked about how important kindness really is, about how a warm smile, a cup of tea, a kind word and a sympathetic ear can really change someone’s day.
I considered what was making my day different already. It was more than the hot herbal tea, and the new teal in my hair. It was kindness. It was compassion, rather than anger and disdain for my running late. It was the print on the wall that included a quote from Pablo Picasso: “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” Certainly, I felt everyone there was highly skilled and doing what they loved, and that helped the overall positive vibe. And then there was the plaque in the salon’s rest room that simply says, “You are beautiful.”
The first time I saw the plaque, I told Katie how much I appreciated it. “There are people whose only affirmation of their beauty might come from that plaque,” I said. I told her I knew this first-hand. There was a time in my life when I received little in the way of positive affirmation. It was a dark and lonely time, and I recognized how meaningful the moments of encouragement were to me in those days. Each one led me out of the darkness in which I dwelled, to a place of light and love and compassion.
My thinking then completed its circle, as it will on a lucky day, and I began to wonder if a simple kindness repeated over time would have made a difference to that client of ours. If he had had the good fortune, as I had, of finding this oasis of kindness, maybe his ending would have been different.
Our simple acts of kindness can be day-changing or life-changing to others. For me, just knowing that Katie understood that I was having a difficult morning, and she felt it was her purpose to give me an awesome haircut in a happy place, changed my day. I wondered what kind of difference we could all make in each other’s lives if we simply added ‘sharing kindness’ to our goals for the day. So I came up with a list of ten things that we can each do to make someone feel special. Can you commit to becoming a #DayChanger for someone and do one of these things every day?
- Greet with meaning. Say good morning and mean it.
- Smile with meaning. Smile at the cashier and look them in the eye when you say thank you. Use their name if they’re wearing a name tag.
- Compliment. Tell someone you like their outfit or their haircut.
- Add laughter. Make someone else laugh.
- Exude gratitude. Say thank you to your staff or workmates when they leave for the day.
- Eat pancakes. Treat someone to breakfast. (Tacos are good, too!)
- Pay attention. Notice if a friend or coworker seems down and bring them a cup of coffee, a snack, or (better yet) balloons.
- Cheer. Give someone a high-five or a fist bump just for being who they are.
- Leave a surprise note. Write an affirming phrase on a post-it note and stick it on someone’s computer monitor or mirror.
- Choose your words. When all else fails, remember the phrase from the Patty Griffin song Long Ride Home: “How hard would it have been to say some kinder words instead?”
Let’s all commit to making a part of our Go Get The World journey an attempt to make that world a more compassionate and kind place, and watch what happens! #BeKind #KindnessMatters #ChangeTheirDay #GoGetTheWorld