On my blog, I say things like "Your words are your legacy" and "Leave your mark on the world." Perhaps it sounds like I'm suggesting we all need to write our own version of MLK Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech -- but that's not what I mean. We leave our literary footprint every time we open our mouth, every time we type something online, every time we publish in print. And in the end, those are some of the very few things we actually leave behind.
Last year I attended a celebration of life event for a 21-year-old woman who was killed in a car crash. Along the walls of the auditorium, the young woman's tweets were projected onto screens. Her funny thoughts, kind words, and grateful expressions were right there for us to read. It was the first time I had experienced anything like that and I noticed it was also the first time I had truly felt someone's presence at their funeral.
We have so many opportunities in this day and age, with our technology, to touch people with our words. And even when we are aware of this notion, we mistakenly believe we don't have the time to do it, or that we can do it 'later.'
Here's an example of how taking a few seconds from your life can uplift someone's spirits and your own -- at absolutely no cost.
I turned my phone on the other morning and got breakfast and lunches ready while the emails and texts came through from the evening before. While the waffles were still toasting, I took a second to skim through the emails and saw a newsletter from my friend's company. Click! Glancing through I noticed it was jam-packed with excellent information and that there was an introduction of new staff to her ever-growing team. I flipped over to the text messages and composed a quickie to her: "Just want to say I love your newsletters. They always have good info and lately it seems like you are introducing new staff all the time!! Congratulations!"
The text I received a few minutes later nearly exploded through my handheld and enveloped me in OMGs, thanks yous and plenty of exclamation marks. Reading her words, "You SOOOO just made my day!" planted a huge smile on my face. I imagined my friend's face had a similar expression.
Not bad for a 10-second text, eh?
The thing is, I could have let that kind thought evaporate in my head. Or I could have said to myself, I should send her a text and let her know I love her newsletter...later. But later never seems to happen. When added to a to-do list, a thing like paying a compliment usually falls way below paying the utility bill. Plus, there is something authentic about sharing an immediate reaction, a certain kind of energy that is difficult to re-create 'later'.
I encourage you to try it at least once today. Follow these simple steps:
1. Be conscious of your kind thoughts.
2. Deliver the thought to the recipient (via text, phone, email, or face-to-face if you're lucky enough!)
3. Enjoy what comes next -- focus on your body's reaction and be aware of the effect of kindness.
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