How to give yourself a pep talk

On a panel of women business owners last week, I was asked to share my favorite lifehack.

Meaning, a simple trick or tip that makes your life and/or work easier.

I shared two oldies-but-goodies in case you haven’t tried them yet:

  • The first helps you overhaul your to-do list. It’s the TODAY List.

  • The second is the Smile File. Seriously, if you don’t have one of these, stop what you’re doing right now and make one. Three clicks of the mouse and you’re done.

Speaking of mouse clicks, I come to you today with my latest hack — and dare I say the best so far.

A simple and surprisingly-delightful way to brighten your own day.

Whether you need a pep talk, a dose of sunshine, or to know you’re not alone, this can do it.

It’s the gift receipt.

How many times while ordering something online, are you asked if you’re sending a gift?

If you’re on Amazon, the answer is every time. Most other websites ask too. We normally skip the gift receipt checkbox because it’s “just” laundry detergent or a phone charger. As if this tiny slip of paper is reserved for only other people.

Well, my friends, prepare to be astounded because if you choose the gift receipt from now on, your life and work will change for the better.

Chances are likely you’ll forget you’ve even done this, open the box flippantly a couple days later and find it at the bottom. You’ll be about to throw it and then…

Wait, it has my name on it!
Oh right!
Is that what I wrote?
Oh, that’s perfect.

:) :) :)

I’ve done this for years, and it’s still just as fun. I write something different each time. Sometimes it has to do with the item itself and sometimes it’s something I know I need to hear.

Here’s an assortment:


The one about biking came with my helmet. The bottom right arrived with my new iPad keyboard.

It’s often the simplest gestures that mean the most. That’s how we feel when others delight us by buying our coffee or putting a sweet note on the fridge. When we think about these in retrospect, we say things like, It was just what I needed to hear, or, it made my whole day.

So can these notes hiding in an ordinary box waiting in your hallway.

Just when you need it. xoxo

PS: All of us on that women business owner panel were interviewed on a terrific podcast, “I want what she has.” While you’re there, check out a few episodes because the smart, genuine hosts highlight individuals making a difference in the arts, business, the environment and womxn’s health.

PPS: If you’re up for more listening, I’m part of the Share Triumph online conference for cancer fighters, survivors and supporters. Sign up to watch individual interviews or the whole series for free.

Do you have a Smile File?

What makes you feel better on a tough day?

I normally turn first the deepest, darkest chocolate as if I could bury myself in it and the caffeine buzz would carry me through the rest of the day.

But it’s only a temporary delicious fix.

What hands-down always does the trick is looking in my Smile File.

If you don’t have one, I highly recommend building one or two right now. I have a physical folder in my file cabinet and a virtual one in my Dropbox (yes, so I can view it on every device. You don’t know where you’ll be when you need it!).

A Smile File is a place to collect cards, notes, encouragements, testimonials and thank-you’s. We all get them, and unfortunately many people wave them away before really receiving these gifts.

Because when you are appreciated, the other person is giving you a gift. I wrote previously about how important it is to accept compliments.

The Smile File takes it one step further. It says what you’ve been given is so precious you’re going to save it and savor it for a long time. I have birthday cards from years ago still in there because what was handwritten inside felt like I was really seen.

What else is there: sweet comments from Facebook, encouraging texts from friends, and emails from former clients months after we worked together raving about the changes they made and thanking me for being part of it. There’s also this brochure my mom and I were featured in for the cancer center where she was treated in 2015. The look on her face is priceless as it documents the end of a rough period for both of us.


Every time I dip into the physical and virtual folders, it feels like a nourishing hug.

Don’t get me wrong, it also feels a little uncomfortable. Like I should check the coast is clear so no one sees me look in there, because maybe this is selfish or self-centered and I’m not supposed to save these or need them.

But I do need them, and so do you!

It’s a natural human desire to feel acknowledged, loved and appreciated. The treasures in your Smile File remind you of the impact you’ve had in people’s lives so you can keep going.

It’s a cross between a sports coach on the sidelines cheering you on, and someone you love telling you it will be alright.

Everyone needs a Smile File and everyone has things to put in it as long as you recognize when people appreciate you, receive it, and save it.

What’s going in your Smile File?

I’d love to hear in comments!