Do something cool.
There’s a guy named Nate who runs a small donut and chai tea shop here in Portland. Recently, Nate had a neat idea:
“What if I give all of my employees an extra $30 – every paycheck – and I encourage each person to give that extra money to someone less fortunate?”
He decided to do it.
He calls it the “Freedom to Give” initiative.
His employees thought this was generous and amazing (because it is). They started talking about it. Pretty soon, the media caught wind of this new initiative. A local news station visited the donut shop with a camera crew. Nate got to appear on TV, standing proudly in front of his lovely shop. Amazing publicity for his small business.
I watched the video and I broke into a huge smile because 1) Nate’s shop is literally my favorite donut place ever and 2) I love seeing good people doing good work – and receiving well-deserved recognition.
I also found myself thinking about another business owner that know.
Unlike Nate, this particular woman thinks the media is “unfair” and complains bitterly that her business never gets noticed or featured anywhere. Rather than starting an interesting initiative that a journalist might want to cover, her attitude is, “It’s not my job to do that. It’s the media’s job to ‘discover’ me.” Not surprisingly, this woman is struggling to keep her business afloat and I always feel a prickly layer of jealousy and cynicism in her tone. It’s very uncomfortable to be around.
Privately, in her presence, I’ve often thought to myself,
“You know, uh, you might have better success getting featured in the media – and getting consistent customers – if you stop complaining and do something cool.”
Something cool. Something inspiring. Something that people want to talk about.
You know. Like Nate.
Maybe you could give your employees an unusual type of sabbatical so that they can afford to travel and volunteer abroad. Or you could make history by throwing the first legal marijuana brunch in your state. Or bring a live DJ into your yoga studio to create the awesomest class experience ever. Or teach a workshop on a cruise ship instead of inside a stuffy hotel conference room. Or invite elementary school kids to concoct your next ice cream flavor. Or commit to writing 10,000 love letters and actually do it.
It doesn’t have to be a huge production. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Just do something special. Anything. Give people something to talk about.
I absolutely have my own “Why won’t anybody notice meeee” moments of negativity and jealousy. Plenty of them. We all have those moments. But when those types of bitter thoughts arise, we don’t have to succumb to them. We can do better.
This is a reminder for all of us:
Less whining. More generosity.
Less moping and hoping someone will notice you. More creativity.
Every morning, you can ask yourself, “Why aren’t I famous yet? Why is the world so unfair?”
Or you can gather your tools, set the intention to make at least one person’s life better today, get to work, and do something cool.