Today, we’re changing things up a little bit. It’s gonna get personal … but this isn’t about me. Actually, it’s WAY beyond me and I hope you’ll read this with that in mind, but the only way to have this work is to be open, transparent and vulnerable with each other.
My hope is that this post will touch, move and inspire you.
As you know, I’m Australian. Over here, we have a very strong culture of what’s known as Tall Poppy Syndrome.
The way it works, is that when someone rises to greatness – Australians (and I think it happens in Britain too?) have a tendency to try chop them down and keep them humble (?!?) – rather than encouraging them towards bigger, better, greater things.
It’s not always done verbally and publicly, sometimes it can be as simple as a disapproving glare – when we mention something even slightly ‘braggy’. Or you notice those friends you used to hang around with start dropping off, making excuses to not be around – because your way of seeing things doesn’t fit in with the way they are used to seeing/knowing you.
As a result of that, we often talk less about inspirational things – for fear that people are going to think we’re being egotistical, that we’re somehow saying it to brag or make them feel smaller.
Today I’m making a step forward to put that rubbish thinking aside – and share personally with some things I’m doing with my children, to bring inspiration to other people’s lives – and i truly hope you can be inspired to not just read, get a bunch of warm fuzzies and continue with your day, but be motivated to action too.
Post a comment, share something you’ve done or something someone has done for you that just surprised you in a way that was memorable.
When we share these experiences a few things happen:
- It helps someone in a spot of real need, that part is pretty obvious
- It creates a place for magic. This happens even more-so when it costs you something and pushes your thinking outside of our own tendency for selfish thought, and outwards to someone else in need.
- It surprises people in a way that creates positive memories. A day that may have very well sucked can be changed in a heartbeat with a simple thoughtful act of kindness.
- It raises other people’s ideas to what’s possible (aka. your kids/grandkids who model themselves after you)
- It inspires others to think beyond themselves. The ripple effect of this is just… amazing.
- It builds a space for abundance in your own life, where before you thought that $10 or $100 was better in your pocket – now, you notice you’ve been able to give, create magic in someone’s life…. and a week, month or year later you’ll find you’re remembering the joy you brought to that person – not what you went without to make it happen. Our brains are so wonderfully wired, yeah?
- It triggers the butterfly effect far beyond anything we can imagine or may ever know
Some of the things my kids & I have done
It’s so funny… my brain keeps wanting to come and preface this with a justification, something to tell you I’m not saying this for the ego value… I’m so pre-programmed to think ‘Oh no! they’re going to think I think I’m THE SH*T’ and that I’m rubbing it in their faces… ‘.
To be honest, maybe you ARE thinking that – maybe you’re not… (well, NOW you might be hahaha), but I’m going to share these anyway and I hope you’ll share your stories too – or if you’ve not done anything you can share, just post whatever ideas come to mind for things you could do, or want to do if you had the ability to make anything happen in the life of someone you care about, or someone you don’t even know.
Today I’m ‘shushing’ that Australian part of my brain and just sharing, because as I mentioned at the start… this has an impact bigger than my small little world and as a community I want you to be a part of it!
So, my kids and I have had some fun with this over the years. Here are a few things we’ve done:
- Double swipe. If we’re eating out in a cafe for lunch, my kids and I will often just pick a random couple or family, or dad/kid combo and when we’re paying for our bill also get the cashier to pay out their bill too. We’ve never hung around to see their faces, but I’m imagining some pretty big smiles!
- Shampoo/Lotion giveaway. This is a habit I’ve gotten into which was inspired by one of my friends, Wendy Gorman. We were chatting about practical ways we can help the homeless and she mentioned that when she is traveling in a hotel that has all of those little bottles in the bathroom, she takes them when she leaves and gives them to homeless folks. Such a cool/simple idea that we’ve started doing it too.
- Chocolates, flowers & giftcards. On mothers day, my kids and I like to just go wandering around, they know I like to window shop (i.e. just wander around malls, without the intention to buy… just to look at pretty things). So this one mothers day we went to a mall and found the hard working mothers who had given up a part of their day to work, to put food on their families tables … and surprised them with small gifts, a little box of chocolates or flowers and in a couple of places some small gift cards. Just to brighten up their day.
- $50 for fresh bread. One Easter we were driving past a guy who was selling bread by the side of the road. My son had the idea that instead of spending our money on a bunch of chocolate we could just give that $50 to this man and told him that we were buying $50 worth of bread but it’s not for us. The next 10 people who stopped to get a loaf, we wanted him to give it to them for free.
When you start doing it with your kids, or grandkids there’s an AWESOME effect that you’ll see happening… they start looking for new ways we can surprise people – it’s built into their brains to LOOK for opportunities.
It’s amazing how something as simple as a $10-$20 purchase can be so damn memorable!
And… if you don’t have a spare $10 to spend on someone else – don’t let that keep you stuck. Have a look at Liz Woodward’s story below – she made a HUGE impact and didn’t spend a cent!
You have the power to change lives! Forever!
We’re shaking things up a little, breaking out of the norm by announcing something I’ve been wanting to do forever… with our very first ‘Pay It Forward Friday’
If you’re not inspired enough yet, I want to share a story with you that blew my mind when I first heard it. You see, Michael Che, the Saturday Night Live Head Writer, wasn’t always a stand-up comedian or a comedy writer. When he was younger he was an artist, one that would put his designs on T-Shirts that he sold on the street in New York.
As a guest on Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show, Che shared the fact that while he was selling T-Shirts on the street, one day Tommy Hilfiger stopped by to buy a shirt, brought by his son who thought he might like Che’s art. The fashion designer invited Che to his office. There, he offered Michael Che $1,000 cash, saying, ‘someone gave me a chance, and I’m gonna give you a chance’. How awesome is that? A fashion titan gave a youngster $1,000 cash because at some point someone did the same for him when he was starting out.
I know $1,000 is pocket change for Tommy Hilfiger, but not for everyone, and that’s why I want to tell you another story, this time one that involves a small, sweet gesture.
Small Gestures Count, Too
Liz Woodward from Mount Laurel, New Jersey, was just finishing her shift at 4:00 AM when two firefighters walked into the diner where she worked. She knew they didn’t have an easy night so she decided to cover the check for them. Instead of giving them an actual check, she wrote on the small piece of paper:
‘Your breakfast in on me today. Thank you for all that you do; for serving others and for running into the places everyone else runs away from. No matter your role, you are courageous, brave, and strong. Thank you for being bold and badass every day! Fueled by Fire and Driven by Courage – what an example you are. Get some rest, Liz’
You’d think that this is where it ends, but there’s more, so much more. One of the firefighters took a picture of the note and posted it on Facebook. The reaction was massive – thousands of likes, hundreds of shares, articles in mainstream media. But he also received a message from someone who told him that Liz – the generous young woman at the diner – was trying to raise money for her father for months, who was quadriplegic, so he decided that he was going to share this new info too. In just a month, people donated $80,000 for her father’s fundraising campaign. And that’s not all, the three were invited to Ellen’s show, where Liz received another donation – $20,000.
There’s power in small gestures. And I agree with what Liz said at one time, sometimes all it takes is a kind gesture. This is what I want to ask your help with and what Pay It Forward Friday is all about. We’re a community of smart, generous people, and I truly believe we could use our collective power to make others’ lives better.
Pay It Forward Friday
On the first Friday of every month, Wildfire Concepts will do something as a pay it forward gesture. And I would LOVE to have you on our side in this cause. There are many ways you can get involved, but I’ll list just two of them that are related to this post:
1) Let us know what you need and what you can offer
In the comments section below, post a comment that would state: A. what you could use the most right now in your life or online business and B. what you have that you could give to someone else.
Please use this format (A. -, B. -) to make it a bit easier for me to collect all the answers.
Don’t feel shy and don’t feel obliged to contribute with more than you can spare.
2) Inspire others with your experience
Let us know if you’ve ever been a part of a pay it forward movement or if you’ve ever done a gesture that could be seen as such. What did you do? How did you do it? How did it feel? Please let us know in the comments, I’m sure there are many people who would love to get involved with us or on their own but don’t know what exactly they could do.
Now, if you want to take part in our Pay It Forward Friday without getting directly involved, that’s fine too, although we’d love to know what you plan on doing. Some things that people from around are doing that might inspire you are:
- When getting coffee, pay in advance for the person behind you, so they’d have a nice surprise; they can just take the gift or do the same and pay it for the person behind them. Suspended Coffees promotes something very similar.
- Pay the grocery bill for the person in front of you at the supermarket, like this kind lady.
- Buy coffee or tea for law enforcement agents or any other type of worker who has to spend the night on the street;
- Run a $5-$10 campaign on Facebook to drive traffic to the blog of someone you know or don’t know;
- Include a banner for a small business in the footer of your newsletter for free.
I’m convinced that all of our small gestures can lead to positive change and I want to hear your thoughts on this topic so please put the comments section to good use. Type your ideas, thoughts, suggestions. I can’t wait to know if you’re on board!