I vowed to speak every positive thought that came into my head.
If someone got into my elevator with a great dress, shoes or haircut, I was going to tell her, or even him, how much I liked it.
"You look beautiful today," I paused to tell to one senior woman, who sat near me at a restaurant dining alone. Her clothing was impeccable and cheerful. Her nails were polished. Her hair groomed and her lipstick fresh. Not knowing her life's story, I was amazed at her effort.
And I wondered, at this stage of her journey, whether she was being appreciated enough for her light in the world.
She beamed. Touching her heart with her hand as I praised all of her well-crafted personal details.
The gift of encouragement is free. And we encourage you to step it up. Because you can't imagine the value of just a small word of praise or gratiitude or acknowledgment.
Few people get enough of that. We hustle on past, lost in our thoughts and forget to connect.
So step up your game. Be present. Look around you for opportunities to add some zing to someone's life. Even a stranger.
Recently, I've tried to get into the habit of acknowledging the small things I see around me, too. If I've staying in a hotel, I make sure to tuck a few dollars into an envelope for housekeeping — and to take it one step further: to write a message that says I'm thankful for my spotless room. I appreciate your attention to detail.
Recently, Marsa and I dined late-night at a restaurant after a long day. It was well past midnight and the young woman waiting tables there was all alone and getting slammed. Late-night diners are typically an interesting crowd and some were not pleasant as she hustled to place orders for multiple tables.
When she finally made it to ours, I let her know I saw her trying so hard.
"You're doing great. You're killing this. I'm in awe of how you're taking care of this whole dining room."
She beamed.. "Thank you," she said. "It's just me."
"I know," I told her. "I was a waitress once. And you're amazing. Just know that."
Words are gifts. Use yours. Tell a struggling student that she CAN handle that tough course. And not to be afraid to take it. Tell a busy mother you know that her children are well-mannered and kind. Let that bank teller or grocery checkout person know that you appreciate their good cheer — even with a dozen impatient customers in line.
Take time to acknowledge someone's "brilliant" light today. Blessing someone else with your words is free. And often, life-changing.