It's always better with friends

Giving big, that is. I've had a great time so far with my monthly #GiveBig. Starting in February, I gave $1,000 to someone I believe in. In March it was a full day of my time that included pep talks, chocolate chip cookie-baking and sending handwritten and texted notes of moral support.

For April I wanted company, and the results were beyond my imagination.

I love that so many of you -- 20 at last count! -- took my ideas and ran with them, making this GiveBig special because each act had a personal touch.

Some of the things you did that day, and have done since:

  • Paid the tolls of several cars behind you
  • Bought coffee for strangers in line
  • Smiled at everyone you passed
  • Donated to new-to-you charities
  • Listened when someone needed to talk, even if you didn't know them
  • Posted this awesome note on the mirror in a women's bathroom (thanks Michelle!)

What I learned from this GiveBig iteration is that there are people who want to give what they have to give in the biggest way possible. All they need is the encouragement.

Isn't that true about a lot of things? The items on your to-do list that you eagerly run out and do...they are the ones that you want to do. Not because someone is asking, but because they resonate.

Same thing happened with GiveBig. I received some responses that were supportive with (unnecessary) excuses attached, such as that they didn't have enough time, or that they couldn't think of the right idea. That's fine.

There were others, like my dear friend Nadine, who seemed like they had been waiting for my request, responding right away with ideas, excitedly updating me on their progress that day, and even thanking me.

Thank me? Thank you! You made this day special, both for me and the people whose lives you touched.

I was a lucky recipient of Nadine's GiveBig. My gosh, did she give in a way that is so uniquely her.

Nadine has a great smile, usually accompanied by the most infectious giggle you've ever heard.

For her #GiveBig, Nadine shared her smile with people she cares about.

She created a simple one-page email that explained a story behind her smile, ending with this:

I learned to love my smile and to love being the kind of person who can't help but smile even in the worst of situations.  I learned that this is in part what I have to give to the world and in particular, today, I want to give it to as many people as possible.

Here's the big part:  she emailed this to everyone she could think of. Starting in the morning by sending it to good friends she speaks to regularly, then later in the afternoon to people she had lost touch with over the years. Her goal was to share a smile every 15 minutes. Awesomeness personified.

In fact, I have the email with her "big goofy grin" and a video of her dancing in her own Sound of Music moment in Austria sitting on my desktop right now. I look at it daily.

No matter what you gave, please know that you changed the course of someone's day. You did. The smallest gesture can have the biggest impact, even if you don't know what that is.

More than anything, I hope that your act of giving big changed your day in subtle and profound ways. That's what this is all about.


You may be wondering about my next GiveBig, after all it is May. It's a surprise next week!