Hope Wissel

How Brighten Someone’s Day


“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a tent with a mosquito.” ~African Proverb

I love to people watch. Growing up at the Jersey shore that was “our thing” especially in the summer.  Sit on the boardwalk and just watch people.  We got to witness snippets of pure, genuine connections – some loving, some angry, and some a little crazy.  During the winter, we would stroll the mall and do the same thing.

People watching took on a whole new meaning when I entered social work.  I learned that one small gesture could make a difference in the lives of others.  It could be as simple as a smile to someone walking in the door of the office or sharing words of encouragement as they struggled through health issues.

As I reflect back, I find it VERY strange that it wasn’t until I started looking past the outer shell of the people I was watching that I realized how simple gestures can make such a big difference.  As the years passed and I left social work, I again went back to just “watching” people.  Those little gestures sometimes fell by the wayside as I was self-absorbed in my own stuff.  Yes, I will admit it.

Lately, I have been thinking about how can I brighten someone’s day within my the realm of my business.  No strings attached just the warm feeling that I get when I see someone smile.

With the help of Krista Butler, I want to share some with you.  I’d love to know your ideas in the comments.

1. Leave inspirational notes in random places.

In books in the library (yes, people still go to the library), on people’s car window, under your lover’s pillow, wherever.  Things like “Make it a great day” or “You are AWESOME”.  Try it and see how  awesome you feel by just leaving one note.

2. Thank someone.

I don’t mean that flat, auto response “thank you”.  I mean how about thanking someone who has positively impacted you – Maybe it is a teacher, your mom, your brother, an old neighbor, or a coach? Why not reach out to them with an email or better yet snail mail.   Share a memory and your gratitude for the difference that they made in your life.

3. Send a handwritten note.

Surprise someone with a handwritten note just because. I can almost guarantee they will smile ear-to-ear when they receive it.

4. Do something for yourself.

Sounds crazy, right?  The truth is that when you fill your cup with some self-care, it will give you enough love to share.  Your cup overflows, so that overflow is the love that flows to others. It’s a beautiful thing.

5. Take it to social media.

This is awesome.  I started doing this and the results have been surprising.  Instead of spending time stalking Facebook, pick three people to give a shout-out to! Just stop by to say “hi” and let them know you’re thinking of them.

When you brighten someone’s day, you are simultaneously stirring up positive energy within yourself. And you’ll carry this energy with you throughout your day. It’s a great feeling.

I challenge you to do something today that will surprise and delight someone else?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!