Why I want to be a “Daymaker.” And why (maybe) we’re all asking the wrong questions. (See also: how a haircut changed my life.)


I’ve had a lot of haircuts in my life.

I don’t remember most of them.

But this one? I’ll never forget.

He was a hip young stylist — eager, ebullient, not more than twenty or twenty-one.

I recall a polka dot shirt, a vivid purple bow tie, a rockabilly ‘do + a whole lot of flair.


His passion for his craft beamed through every pore.

It was there, in the scalp massage he extended just a feee-ew minutes longer than necessary.

In the way he lovingly worked in that aromatherapy conditioner — adjusting my neck in the cradle, just so.

In the way he trimmed my bangs with careful precision — and even offering to add a touch of make-up, at the end.

Completely above and beyond, in every way. And the kicker? He was just an apprentice. The lowest-paid stylist of the bunch.


As he brushed a few stray hairs off my shoulders, I noticed a gleaming trophy by the mirror.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“Oh, that?” he said. “That’s my Daymaker Award.”

“What’s that mean?”

“Well,” he said, matter of factly. “When a stylist does a great job — you know, really makes someone’s day — they get nominated by the customers and also the other stylists. The person with the most nominations gets the Daymaker Award.”

“Well, you definitely made my day.”

“Thank you. May I have your address, so I can send you a ‘thank you’ note?”

“You have got to be kidding me … YES!”


. . .


When you meet a true Daymaker, the soul-residue doesn’t wash off after a couple shampoos.

And that fateful haircut left me wondering about things. Big things. Deep things.

Like what if, maybe, we’re all wasting our time + spinning our wheels, agonizing over questions like:

“What is the secret to happiness + success + wealth + greatness + impact + legacy + leadership + innovation + how can I fulfill my highest purpose, every day?”

When really, all we oughta be asking is:

“How can I make someone’s day?”




‘soul residue that doesn’t wash off after a couple of shampoos’
= Love this.
There are people + moments sometimes in your lifetime you remember forever – “soul residue”!

So true. That would be a fun conversation topic … who are the people in your life who have left behind “soul residue?”

Like a happy, slimey snail trail. :)

Alexandra Franzen on Mar 11, 2014 Reply

You’re right – diamond-brilliant topic idea!

I love this sooooo much. I wouldn’t have known what to call it, but yes! I want to be a daymaker!

This is so sweet! There’s nothing better than seeing people who really, really love what they do. Feeling inspired!

I get asked a lot of questions in my line of work – and I ask a lot of qs. This: “How can I make someone’s day?” is by far, one of the best qs. :)

I love this Alex. So simple and so true. Thank you!

Nicole H on Mar 11, 2014 Reply

Oh wow, I just want to give this guy a big hug, he sounds wonderful! And yes, I want to be a Daymaker too!

Ooooh how I love my Daymaker! She’s fantastic :). I haven’t seen her in a bit (since going from downtown Mpls to St. Paul for work)…perhaps a trip is in order :).

I visit the happy cookie guy every once in a while. He doesn’t own the shop but you can’t help but be happy in his presence as he lovingly and cheerfully fills each order. All you need to do is mention ‘happy cookie guy’ in downtown Mpls and immediately people know who you’re talking about.

That level of joy is what I strive to bring to my everyday :).

Oh this is truly fabulous! I have had the pleasure of being in the presence of a few “daymakers”. Your post has inspired to start asking myself “how can I make this person’s day?” in my interactions with others- thank you!

Have you read the book by the hairdresser who inspired the day maker awards? David Wagner? Highly recommended reading :-)

El Edwards on Mar 14, 2014 Reply

Wow – I think I’m going to have to attend your LA workshop simply due to writing the words “soul residue” and “happy, slimy snail trail.” :)

Lisa: HA! Let’s all be happy, slimy snails … and make someone’s day. :)

Alexandra Franzen on Mar 14, 2014 Reply

Fantastic conclusion to this post. Yes, I think that’s the question we should be asking.

*Sigh* If only everyone aimed to be “daymakers”… what a beautiful place the world could be. I definitely aim to do this and knowing I have made someones day is possibly the best feeling and sense of achievement I can have! I LOVE that I now have a name for it :D

Jacky on Mar 15, 2014 Reply

I love this. I LOVE THIS! I’ve had the pleasure of knowing a few daymakers in my life–and I hope to be one for others!

You knocked it out of the park with this one. I’m adding that to my life goals, being a daymaker as often as I can, with as many people as I can. Feel a little bobbin of happiness unfurling as I type.

Thanks Alexandra, as always you inspire me to be my biggest self.

Merci. Really hit my heart and made it smile.

I was just thinking about people who inspire me the other day and one of the people who came to mind is this amazing man that works at the grocery store. He has this beautiful way of making everyone feel like a close friend. His caring and humor and heartfelt bear hugs bring a little joy into so many peoples lives. This post describes the very thing that inspired me about him, so beautifully. It is all about being a daymaker!!!! He certainly is, and I hope to be too!

Dorrie on Mar 27, 2014 Reply

WOW, short and deep message! Thanks for sharing!

Cynthia on Apr 15, 2014 Reply

Thank you for sharing this again recently in your email. I really enjoyed reading it and love the perspective it has given me heading into the weekend. I felt it was reinforced when my trainer showed up to workout today and asked me “Who have you helped today?”, not “How is your day going?, How do you feel?” etc. What a lovely approach to each day!

This post is totally yum… I have tingles!!

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