Friday, August 21, 2015

If you've been hanging around me for a while, you've heard me say these three words a lot: say it now.

I seem to have been born with a bee in my bonnet about this. And the li'l bee was buzzing again this week. (Though I was wearing a cloche rather than a bonnet!)

Here's what happened. My friend (and awesome writer!) Ashley, was in town from North Carolina a few weeks ago and we stopped by a local Indian Street Food eatery called Curry Up Now for a little nosh. We were kind of giggly and uncertain at the counter where we were supposed to be ordering. Luckily no one was waiting behind us. And fortunately, the young guy manning the register was patient and friendly. He didn't seem to mind our waffling about what to order. Ashley mused out loud to me, "Hey, what's a lassi?"

The young man, whom we shall call Peter — because that is his name— overheard her and quickly poured two little sample shot glasses of mango lassi (a yogurt drink) for us to try. (Thoughtful, right?!) The lassi was really delicious and when we finally ordered our food, we hemmed and hawed again — this time about whether we should also get a couple lassis. I said, "Let's eat our food and maybe we'll get a lassi and split it for dessert."

Peter cheerfully took our order and sent us on our way.

Ashley and I sat and gabbed and ate our food. We were just about finishing up when we saw Peter headed our way with a couple of lassis in his hands. He smiled, set them on the table, and said, "I thought you might enjoy these." Then he walked away.

Ashley and I were so surprised and overjoyed. It was just the sweetest thing. (I mean Peter's gesture. The lassi was sweet, but almost beside the point!). We must have spent ten minutes talking about how delightful that was of him to gift us with the lassis. And then, throughout the night, we'd remember and be happy all over again. It was such a dear gesture and so completely unexpected. It truly made our day.

I don't know if Peter makes a habit of surprising people like that. But his "say it now" to us seems like this: "Hey ladies, life is good. Let me remind you of the generosity of the universe." (I'm not sure if those were the exact words in his head, but that's what I heard while sipping my lassi!)

I was so excited to let Peter's manager know that Peter had been so helpful and friendly. I promised myself that I would send a letter right away.

Days passed. And a couple weeks. I didn't do it.

And then, that l'il bee started a'buzzin. Say. It. Now.

Oh yeah. Of course.

So I tweeted Curry Up Now to find out the manager's name. And then I wrote a glowing letter about Peter and how awesome he was. (I didn't actually mention the free lassis because I'm not sure if Peter bought them for us or merely treated us on behalf of Curry Up Now. So please don't tell the manager about any of this. I hope he isn't on my mailing list. Or, if he is, I hope he loves this free advertising and thinks it is well worth the cost of two mango lassis! Matt, if you're reading this ... please know that I will recommend Curry Up Now to everyone I know because of the joy Peter brought!)

Writing that letter brought up all the feelings of surprise and delight. I got to re-experience it. So my "say it now" to Peter was actually a "say it now" to myself, like a whisper of "isn't life something?"

My hope is that the letter may have also brought some surprise joy to Peter. I think Matt the Manager liked it because he tweeted to tell me so.

(Here's the tweet)

I am so glad I didn't just "think" about writing a letter. But that I actually did it. (Better late than never!)

The thing is — these are small things. A coupla free lassis and a letter. You could shrug and say "so what." But that's just it. They are small things and they are so very very far from "so what." That's what the bee in my bonnet, er, cloche, is really all about.

I'm writing this to you and I am feeling awash with happiness just thinking about a moment in a restaurant when a young man brought us lassis. AND I'm thinking about how good it felt to write and send that letter. And to imagine the pat on the back Peter might have received. Maybe it was a delightful surprise in his life that day. Maybe the manager had a bad day and the letter brought him some small joy. We don't know.

(Here's part of my letter to Peter's manager. See, I say how it is no small thing!)

All I'm saying is: is there someone in your life — stranger or friend— whom you could send a surprise thank you note to for something they did that was helpful or unexpected? Think about it: did you get extraordinary service somewhere? Did someone go out of their way for you? Did you receive an extra something that made your day? Did someone show up for you in a lovely way?

Could you take ten minutes and write up a l'il thank you note?

It won't take much time. But I bet it will bring a big smile. (And remember, these small things are no small thing!)

Don't wait. Say it now.

Dreaming of mango lassi,
Sherry


P.S. Don't forget the part of my story about "better late than never." It doesn't matter how much time has passed since someone did you a good deed. I just wrote a letter to Southwest Airlines thanking a flight attendant who was hilarious and generous on a flight I took several months ago. So what. Say it now — they'll be even more surprised when they get your note.

P.P.S. You can thank someone for something more than once. Did you ever get a gift that you just love and use all the time? Years later, you can send a note saying, "I still love the warm and soft blanket you got me for Christmas in 2005. I use it all the time." (Thank you to my sister Holly who inspired this postscript. I do love my warm and soft blanket and I use it all the time.)

P.P.P.S The Universe loves to send anonymous thank you notes. If you would like to request one to be sent to a friend or stranger of yours, comment on this blog post and leave your email address so I can connect with you. I'll — I mean The Universe— will send notes to the first three requests. (If you aren't on Facebook, you can email me your request.)

 

 





Sunday, August 02, 2015

Remember last week I told you about Lisa Myers and her "Be You" Project?

Well, I just loved and appreciated the response to this email. And it meant so much to me to be able to send a bunch of buttons to folks who needed a be-you-boost.

(Part of the secret sauce of this is that whenever I send someone a boost, I get a big ole boost myself! Mwahahaha.)

One of the other good things that came from this email was an inquiry from a wonderful coaching client of mine. She said, "I loved that email about Lisa Myers and it was inspiring to hear about her project. But I feel like I don't really know how to "be me. How the heck do I be myself when I don't know who that is?"

Her question was yummy food for thought.

I have an amazing poem to share with you by my dear friend, Maya Stein, which speaks to this. I also have a few musings of my own. Hope you'll give this a listen.

Without further ado, here's the "How the heck do I be me?" audio:

You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.

To download, right-click this link.

 

Here's to you, exactly who you are, because who you are is such a GIFT,

Sherry

 

If you're receiving this by email and don't see the audio player, click here to listen!

I'd love to hear your thoughts on how you know how to "be you." Comment on this blog or email me.

I used up all the "Be You" buttons I had. But a little bird (named Lisa) tells me some more are in the mail to me. I'll let you know when I have more I can send out.

 

 

 





Friday, July 24, 2015

Imagine this: you're walking down the street and someone comes up to you and says, "Hi! I'm spreading the message that the world needs the real you. I would like to give you this be you button as a reminder."

How awesome is that? In this culture of not-enough and be-more and get-with-the-program, what a gift to be invited, nay encouraged, to be myself.

The oh-so-awesome woman in the photo above, who actually did stand on the street handing out be you buttons is Lisa Myers. I was lucky enough to be her coach through the process of creating this feel-good project.

Lisa knew she wanted to do something uplifting and creative. She told me she often noticed folks on the street who hold up signs when they need food, work, or money. I remember her musing about how wonderful it might be to have a different kind of roadside sign — one that offers something. So Lisa created her be you Project, a somewhat simple idea involving printing some buttons and making a sign.

The not-so-simple part was overcoming self-consciousness about putting herself out there like that. That takes gumption! But I remember Lisa saying how much she has been inspired by people who are willing to be out there in the world, offering something unique to others — like the people who give free hugs.  Lisa was willing to push at the edges of her comfort zone in order to do something meaningful and fun for others.

So Lisa printed up her buttons, made her cardboard sign, and took to the streets to be a spark of magic and inspiration.

***

I first met Lisa at a women's retreat. Lisa has a way of being totally honest and open and it is really refreshing. She has a quirky sense of humor and an amazing writing style. She's herself in the world. And you know what? By being just exactly who she is, she invites others to do so.

Usually my writings here center on some sort of celebration or on one-of-a-kind gifts. I think this story is about both. Lisa's creative project of standing on the streets handing out be you buttons is definitely something that turns an ordinary day into something extraordinary. It is a celebration. And, just like I talked about in my last email to you, ("What do water balloons have to do with anything?") Lisa's be you events in the world are experiential gifts. They're gifts of energy, connection, and memorable moments.

***

Once, after she had passed out a bunch of buttons, Lisa was headed back home. She happened to pass a teenage girl, who had taken about a dozen buttons to give her friends. Lisa said the girl was sitting on the curb, with her back to Lisa, talking on the phone. Lisa overheard the young girl say, "Yeah, the coolest thing just happened...this lady gave me a handful of buttons that say be you. I just love that."

How great to have even just one person be impacted positively by a conscious gesture in the world. This teenager may always remember "the lady who gave away buttons on the street." Maybe someday she'll be inspired to do something out-of-the-box herself because of Lisa. Who knows?! And chances are that almost everyone who received a button from Lisa was changed in some way because of it.

You may not feel as brave or creative as Lisa. But maybe there is some amazing project you'd like to embark upon that would be a sparkling pinprick of light in the world? If there is, and you need some cheerleading along the way, let me know. I had a blast coaching with Lisa for this project. I'd love to work with you, too. Check out my Jumpstart Juicy special.

Or, if it suits you better, just think of Lisa one day and do just a little something out of the ordinary to make someone smile. Surprise the person in line ahead of you by buying his ice-cream cone. Strike up a conversation with an elderly lady on the bus and listen intently. Buy a few sunflowers and give them to store clerks where you shop. Send an anonymous note thanking someone for a kind deed you witnessed. Wear a costume to the grocery store.

Be a gift.

And remember, always be you. Because that is what makes you an extraordinary gift.

With gratitude to Lisa for her inspiration—
Delights,
Sherry

 

P.S. Lisa generously gave me some be you buttons that I could pass out to people. Yay! Do you know someone who could use a little encouragement to simply be themself in the world? (Is "themself" a word? I prefer a single word rather than the ole himself/herself but maybe I don't have an option? But wait ... I'm just gonna take a page from Lisa's book and be me. I mean, be myself. I'm gonna use the word "themself" 'cuz I want to!)  If you do know of someone who needs a boost of "be-you-ness," let me know. Be one of the first three folks to send me an email with the snail mail address of a loved one, and I will send them a cheery note + a be you button! Remember, the snail mail address is really important cuz this ain't no eButton! This is a Be-button.

Don't forget what Oscar Wilde said: "Be you— because everyone else is taken." {Hee hee.}





Saturday, July 18, 2015

What do water balloons have to do with anything?

Everything!

It's about going just a wee bit out of our way or our comfort zone to create moments that are joyful, giddy gifts for the people around us.

That's the ending of the story. That's the punch line. That's the why.

Now here's the short story behind it: Last week I was visiting family who live in Ohio. My son, his dad, and Ian (my beau) all traveled with me to stay for a couple weeks.

Ian decided to sneak up to the dollar store and buy a bunch of water balloons. He then spent a long time painstakingly filling them up and storing them in a big tub where no one would see them.

Then, one afternoon when it was sunny and hot, he announced, "Water Balloon Fight!" And we all had dozens of water balloons at the ready for a silly, playful, happy time.

We ganged up on each other; we ninja attacked one another; we got splat-splat-splatted by surprise when we least expected it; we tried to play catch with 'em; we laughed and snorted and hollered and zipped around the yard; and then we ran out of balloons and resorted to dumping buckets of water on one another.

Mostly, we just had lots of plain ol'-fashioned fun.

And why?

Because someone spent about $3 and a chunk of time to plan an experiential surprise gift for us.

You could shrug your shoulders and say, "meh" if you want. But I'm here to tell you that this is the stuff life is made of. This is what makes us feel healthy and vibrant and alive. This is what deepens relationships. (Yeah, that's right ... sneak attacks and splats do indeed foster happier families. Write that down!)

Moments are gifts. And we can intentionally give the people in our lives memorable moments. Just like Ian did for us that afternoon.

It doesn't take a lot of money. And it doesn't even have to take as much time as it took Ian to fill up that bucket of balloons. But what it takes is an intention to add some zip-a-dee-doo-dah to life. And the wherewithal to follow through on it.

Don't wait for someone's birthday. Don't wait for a holiday. Don't wait until the planets line up or you have the time or you're "ready." Do it now. Plan some simple extraordinary moment for someone in your life. Then follow through.

And when you do, just watch and see how good it feels to spread some ninja joy!

Summery delights,
Sherry


P.S. If you decide to bring the magic of water balloons to your own family, here are a few tips:

Buy your water balloons at the local dollar store: they are cheap and plentiful. You don't need artisanal water balloons!

 

When you are filling up the water balloons, float them in a big tub (or small plastic swimming pool) of water so they don't break.

 

Before the water balloon fight, set some ground rules like "no hitting in the face" or "no running near the spears or hot grill" or "the patio is a safe zone." This is supposed to be fun; the last thing you want is anyone getting their feelings or body hurt!

 

If you're taking amazing slow-mo video of someone getting smacked with a water balloon, keep looking over your shoulder to ensure you don't get a surprise attack and water on your phone!