Yesterday, I put a challenge out on my Facebook page. It read: “I am challenging you all to something this month: each day, you must give one thing away. It can be money, it can be time, it can be a charitable donation, it can be a cup of coffee, it can be a flower or a card or a handwritten note. But, each day — you have to commit to give *something* — and it has to be with the intent of improving someone else’s life. Who is with me?”
Admittedly, I was hoping it would catch on like wildfire. If my status was a YouTube video, I was hoping it would be the kind of status that would go massively viral and be featured on the Ellen Show. Needless to say, it did not get that kind of fanfare. It honestly didn’t get much fanfare at all. I have almost 700 “friends” on Facebook. This post got exactly 7 “likes,” 2 people said “I’m in!” and I saw that it was shared two times. I’ve gotten more “likes” for saying I was taking a nap, for cripes sake! This status wasn’t viral at all. As statuses go, this one wasn’t even a sniffle.
I’ve always bucked the trends a little bit, don’t mind marching to the beat of my own drum, and may appear a little unconventional and kooky in some people’s eyes. And, regardless of my lackluster Facebook response, I am going for it. I am going to be a *Random Acts of Kindness Army of One* (insert the donning of cape and jumping out of phonebooth here)!! I am going to do one thing a day for the rest of November and see how it impacts me, my family, and the community around me. It is only day two and I feel better already.
Now, in all fairness (because the internet is one of those places where people try to pretend they have original thoughts all the time), I did not come up with this challenge on my own. I was doing some personal development work and heard about the challenge through a Jack Canfield coaching call. It was his challenge for the month and he extended it to all of the people on the call. Because I truly believe that you receive through the same doorway from which you give, I hopped on board. It wasn’t my idea, but I can make his idea my own and put my special Jenn Pipe touch on it! It is quite simple really: I am like most people on the planet right now, I don’t have a lot of spare time. But, I have enough time over the course of the day to creatively and sincerely attempt to put a smile on someone’s face. I certainly don’t have a lot of money to spare at this moment in time — my kids, my house, and the economy make sure of that — but I have spare change in my pocket on most days. “Giving” can be as simple as a hug or a compliment — and you don’t need one red cent to do either one of those!
So, my journey has started. And, like I said, (not that I wasn’t feeling good before) I feel better already. Being a giver is so much more amazing than being a taker!! Over the course of the last two days, I have spent exactly 17 minutes and zero dollars on this mission; anything I have given away I had on hand. Here is what I have done:
Yesterday, I was working on a wedding gift that I had been hired to create. I already had my supplies out and was sitting there toiling away, so I took an extra 5 minutes out of my time to make a simple card. Then, I attached a stamp to the envelope, and decided that I would leave it in a public place for someone to find. With a stamp already affixed, the recipient could commit THEIR act of kindness without any added expense on their part, thereby making it easier for them.
I put a handwritten note with it that read (just to make sure nobody threw it out):
And then, on the back of that note, I wrote:
Because, wouldn’t it be great if the person who found this was so grateful that it sparked one more act of kindness? And then, when their recipient was so appreciative, one more kind act was done? This isn’t rocket science, and many of us have seen Pay It Forward, so it’s not like it is a new concept (although, in my version, I sincerely hope nobody dies — especially not me). But, wouldn’t it be simply AMAZING if acts like this got more time on the news than stabbings, terrorism, and politics? Wouldn’t it be so INCREDIBLE if those wretched, ugly, self-destructive reality TV shows just all died a horrible death and we started seeing more programming geared towards being an upstanding member of society?! Wouldn’t it be MIRACULOUS if we saw more smiles on people’s faces than scowls as they walked by us, grumpily going about their days?! I think so.
So, in an effort to hopefully create one smiling face, I took my card, my note, and my envelope to the local Panera Bread, and I left it on an empty table. That’s all. I walked in and I walked out. I don’t even think I turned the ignition off in my car. It was quick and painless, yet rewarding.
Today was day two. My idea for today came after reading one of the notes from my daughter’s school about how the strep virus had made its way to her classroom. Now, if you know me at all, you know I love me some Purell. There is always some in my bag for those moments when getting to a sink is not possible, or for when I see little Henry pick a big booger at the supermarket and then touch the debit card keypad that I have to touch immediately after him. So I thought to myself, “Self. Today, let’s keep someone healthy.”
I went to my linen closet, took out one of my trial sized bottles of Purell, wrote a note on a cute little tag, tied it with a ribbon, and voila…today’s random act of kindness was complete.
I put it in the car with me, and as I was driving by the local Senior Center on my way to another errand, I pulled in the parking lot, parked my car, went into the lobby, and left this on a table where someone would see it. Now, I honestly have no way of knowing if anyone took this — but in my heart, I really hope that some cute little old lady stuck it in her purse.
Now, I made a card because I am crafty and I like doing stuff like that, but you don’t have to take it that far. A blank card from your stash will do. The goal is to make it quick, simple, easy, and fun for the next 26 days. You could do your own campaign — maybe an “email a day’ campaign where you send a quick email just to say hello and ask how someone is doing. You could do a “family challenge” and each person takes turns doing an act of giving every day. Put your own spin on it and give the things from your heart that make sense for YOU to give.
Givers are getters. Won’t you join me? Please….