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?”

xo.

 
 

“What should I write about?” 33 prompts to unlock new blog posts + stories that need to be told …

 
 


Scribbles, ahoy! Photo by Leslie from Shuttersmack.

 
 
 

“What should I write about?”

It’s a question I hear … quite a lot.

Second only to:

“How do I decide what to write about, first?”

No matter which question you’ve got on your mind, these prompts might unlock a few answers.

Just fill in the blanks — and pay attention to the phrases that make your heart beat a little faster.

THOSE are the topics to focus on, first.

(And if “writing” isn’t your preferred mode of self-expression, just swap in another verb that suits you. Like “explaining” or “teaching” or “performing” or “singing” or “painting” or “podcasting” or “taking a photo.” You know what you like. Go make something good.)

 

. . .

 

For years, I’ve been saying, “I ought to write a book about ___________________.”

 

I care deeply about helping people ___________________.

 

I (secretly) want to write about ___________________.

 

People are always asking me how I ___________________.

 

I wish people would ask me how to ___________________.

 

I don’t know EVERYTHING about ___________________, but I know enough to give somebody a considerable head start.

 

I don’t have anything particularly “innovative” to say. I just want to remind people that it’s OK to ___________________.

 

I don’t have anything “radical” to say. I just want to show people how to ___________________ and have fun doing it.

 

I have SO many great tips on how to___________________.

 

I have THE funniest story about that one time I ___________________.

 

I know a TON about ___________________.

 

I really want to be known as an expert on ___________________.

 

I really want to be known as someone with a fresh twist on ___________________.

 

I seriously believe the world would be a much better place if we could all just ___________________.

 

I think people might be inspired by my story about ___________________.

 

I will never, ever get tired of talking about ___________________.

 

I’ve got a weird, inexplicable obsession with ___________________.

 

I’ve got super-strong opinions about ___________________.

 

If a friend of mine was too afraid to ___________________, what I’d want to tell him / her is ___________________.

 

If a space discovery program asked me to write a short essay about “what it means to be human” — a message for alien races + future human generations to read — I’d tell the story about that one time I ___________________.

 

If I gave people a secret glimpse into my ___________________, what they’d find inside is ___________________.

 

If there’s one recurring lesson in my life — one that I’ve learned over and over, in different ways — it’s definitely
___________________.

 

It probably doesn’t “make sense” in terms of my business / career, but I’m just dying to write about ___________________.

 

It’s not “fancy” or “special” or even that “unique,” but I suspect people would be really curious to take a peek at my ___________________.

 

Most people think that ___________________ is really complicated, but I know that it can be ___________________.

 

One thing I’m tired of seeing in the world is ___________________.

 

One thing that makes me absolutely sick is ___________________.

 

One thing that I think is completely amazing — that everybody should know about! — is ___________________.

 

The worst break-up / fight / conflict I ever experienced was ___________________ and what I learned was ___________________.

 

When ___________________ happened to me, I felt so ashamed / alone / angry / frightened. I’d like to share that story, so that other people know they’re NOT alone.

 

When a friend of mine is in pain because of ___________________, what I want to tell him / her is ___________________.

 

When my heart is breaking, what I wish somebody would tell me is ___________________.

 

When I’m ready to leave this world, and my dearest friends surround my bedside and ask me, “Do you have any last words of advice? One last secret to share? A story to tell?” I’ll smile and tell them all about ___________________.

 

. . .

 

Want even MORE prompts? Read THIS.

Feeling stuck, scared + blocked? Read THIS.

Worried that your audience is “too small” — so what’s the point of even writing? DEFINITELY read THIS.

 
xo.

P.S. What are YOU going to write about today?

 
 

To Fred, with love.

 
 

Yesterday marked the anniversary of the passing of one of my heroes: Fred Rogers, the creator + host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

If you flipped on a TV set anytime between the years of 1968 and 2001, you’re probably familiar with ol’ Fred — his signature red cardigan sweater, his puppets, his songs, his heartfelt lessons on kindness + kinship, forgiveness + friendship.

For me, Fred’s “neighborhood” represented the safest, most encouraging place on television.

And my admiration for his work has only deepened, through the years.

Fred once said:

“Fame is a four-letter word. Like tape or zoom or face or pain or life or love, what ultimately matters is what we do with it.”

 

I think about those words, often.

I am not “famous” — at least, not when compared to many others.

I do not believe that becoming “famous” is a particularly nourishing goal.

At the same time, I am aware that having a “platform” — of any kind, of any size — is a privilege. And not one to be taken lightly.

More than that — simply being alive is a privilege. One that lasts as long as it lasts, and not a moment longer.
 

So, how will you spend your time, today?

What will you do with your energy?

Your connections?

Your creativity?

Your freedom?

Your fame?

Will you, like Fred, strive to create “a daily expression of care” for the people who need the unique gifts that you’ve got?

Will you give that “expression of care” … everything that you’ve got?

I trust that you’ll try.

And so will I.
 

I love you, Fred. And I miss you.

Thank you for all that you did — and all that you still do.

May we all be the kind of people that you’d be proud to call your “neighbors.”

xo.

P.S. That photo of Fred was taken in the late 1960s. It’s part of a special collection at the University of Houston Library — and is available for public use under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication. Thanks, Internet.

 
 

My {new} favorite tools for writing, creativity, productivity + whatnot.

 
 


Someday, my desk will be as beauteous as my friend Leslie’s. Photo by Shuttersmack.

 
 
 

Only the FINEST for you, friends!

I am constantly gobsmacked by how many tools, apps + helpful treats there are on the Internet — readily available + often cost-free!

Here are a few that have brightened my world, recently.

 
 

COFFITIVITY

http://coffitivity.com/

Ever notice that it’s much easier to concentrate when there’s a bit of ambient noise around you — instead of pure silence?

There’s a scientific reason for that. And the folks at Coffitivity are making it easier to hit that sweet spot between “too quiet” and “too loud,” with looping tracks that mimic the sounds of coffee shops + bustling cafeterias.

I’ve got them playing constantly!
 
 

eVENUES

http://evenues.com/

Looking for a meeting space for your next team pow-wow, workshop or class? Find + book venues online — just like a hotel room — with this amazingly time-saving tool.
 
 

UNROLL.ME

http://unroll.me/

Drowning in mailing list subscriptions … that you can’t even remember signing up for?

Unsubscribe from dozens (or hundreds!) of mailing lists with a single click.

You can also create a Roll-Up — a consolidated daily digest of the messages that you do want to receive.
 
 

CRATEJOY

http://cratejoy.com/

Ever fantasize about starting your own Cheese / Wine / Book / Candle / Bath Soap / Curated Chocolate Set Gift of the Month Club … but get overwhelmed by all the logistics?

Rekindle that dream, because CrateJoy is streamlining the whole process — with pre-paid print-at-home shipping labels and empty boxes, delivered to your doorstep.

(This service is launching soon — and you can sign up to be notified when they do. I’m on the list, waiting with bated breath!)
 
 

TASKRABBIT

http://taskrabbit.com/

Got a sickeningly-long to-do list? Find a local TaskRabbit to help you with random, time-consuming jobs — from waiting in line for concert tickets, to cleaning your apartment, to driving your car to the repair shop across town, and beyond.

All TaskRabbits go through a background-check process, and you can “meet” folks online before you choose who to hire.

Once the job is complete, just log-in to pay (and include a generous tip). Life changed, in two clicks.
 
 

HEARNAMES

http://hearnames.com/

Got an upcoming meeting with someone … with a cool + unfamiliar name? Want to impress them by actually knowing how to say it?

HearNames is a database of audio clips that demonstrate the correct pronunciation for thousands of names.

(You can even listen to the same name, pronounced in different dialects from all over the world!)
 
 

SELFCONTROL

http://selfcontrolapp.com/

Use SelfControl to block certain sites on your computer for a specific amount of time — removing habitual distractions + allowing you to focus, focus, focus.

(I’m using it to block Twitter right now, while I’m finishing this post!)
 
 

xo + happy creating.


 
 

P.S. Craving more tools, apps + treats? Here’s another round-up of my favs.

P.P.S. Which tools are rocking YOUR world, lately?

 
 

My new “code of conduct” for writing, working + navigating the world. (psst. it’s powered by yoga.)

 
 

I live by a code of my own creation. That code is never perfect, but always progressing. (Kinda like me.)

The latest iteration = the 10 yamas + niyamas of yoga, applied to my writing + work.

A set of 10 guidelines for treating myself + others. A manifesto, of sorts.

(Like my code? Take it + use it. Better yet … find your own.)

 

. . .

 

Ahimsa (“non-harming”)

 
Remember that every word you send out into the universe eventually finds its way to a living human being.

Be respectful and humane — even if you have something difficult to say.

 

Satya (“refraining from dishonesty”)

 
If you don’t want to go, simply say “I’m honored, but no, thank you” — not “I’m too busy” or “I can’t afford it” or “Maybe next year.”

Still too hard? Add: “I trust + respect you enough to be honest.”

 

Asteya (“non-stealing”)

 
If you said “I’ll be there,” be there. If you said “5 o’clock,” show up. If you said “I want to hire you,” pay up.

Time is a non-renewable resource. Don’t waste it.

 

Brahmacharya (“wise use of sexual energy”)

 
Sexual energy is primal creativity.

Focus your power. Constraint is sexy.

 

Aparigraha (“non-possessiveness”)

 
Don’t hoard your ideas — or build a stone fortress to “protect” what you know.

Be generous. Be helpful. Let it be that simple.

 

Saucha (“purity”)

 
Keep your mind, spirit + calendar clear. Undercommit + overdeliver.

Be available for spontaneity + surprises.

 

Santosha (“contentment”)

 
Strive to be + do better. But …

Be proud of what you’ve created + content with what you’ve got. It’s all enough.

 

Tapas (“self-discipline”)

 
Devotion is everything.

Keep marching. Keep marching. Keep marching.

 

Svadhyaya” (“self-study”)

 
Question why you do the things you do. Out of habit? Or genuine desire?

Be curious.

 

Ishvara pranidhana (“surrender to a higher source”)

 
Aim to leave everything — apartments, national parks, people’s hearts — in better condition than you found them.

And ultimately?

Surrender to the mystery of it all.

You are in control. Except when you’re not.

 

xo.

 

P.S. For all you beautiful yogis … did I mention I’m speaking at CurveCamp this year? It’s a body-positive yoga conference for women of all ages + sizes in Nashville, Tennessee.

Come stretch your body + mind — and write your heart out, with me. Grab your mat + head over here to learn more. Not your thing? Plenty of other ways to work, write + play with me = right over here.