If not, allow me to introduce you to how Diane von Fustenberg (mother of the wrap dress) starts her day: “I send one e-mail that doesn’t benefit me at all.” The designer shared this insight with an audience at a Fast Company conference. She said the e-mail could be the introduction of an artist to a potential patron, or something as simple, direct, and appreciated as a compliment.
But you don’t have to let the awesomeness end there! Keep your day moving forward in a happy and productive way by focusing on one thing a day that is for others. Can’t think of any? No problem—I’ve got ideas for you!
Here are 50 ways to be amazing (thanks Alexandra Franzen):
Day 1: Compliment three strangers: a child, someone your own age, and an elder. Congratulate them on something highly-specific (“Way to rock that tricycle, kiddo!”) or simply say: “You look lovely, today.”
Day 2: Find a Little Free Library near you and donate a book. Can’t find one? Start one.
Day 3: That public radio station or podcast you’ve been streaming for months or years? Become a member. Don’t put it off. And while you’re at it? Send a gushing, praise-filled email to the production team.
Day 4: Find a blogger who’s been slammed with mean comments lately. Send them a love note. Tell them to keep writing.
Day 5: Choose a local show (improv! Stand-up comedy! Storyslam! Indie rock!)—and bring a MASS AVALANCHE of friends. Scream. Cheer. Make the hardworking, little-thanked performers feel like superstars.
Day 6: Choose a struggling (or not so struggling) poet and publicly thank them, on Twitter. Like this.
Day 7: Choose a big-name celebrity that you admire and write them a genuine, heartfelt letter of thanks just to say, “I love your work; you move me.” No request or “ask” or “gimme,” attached.
Day 8: Offer to take a photo of a sweet couple in love. When you email it to them, send along a Kiind gift certificate too for a bottle of wine, or a couple of coffees.
Day 9: See a bicycle with a basket, parked on the street? Put flowers in it.
Day 10: Sponsor a small local yoga class. Buy up 10 or 20 spots, and give them away to strangers. Or neighbors. Yoga for everybody!
Day 11: Tell a teenager: “You are so smart. Scary smart. I can’t wait to see who you become. And I love who you are, right now.”
Day 12: Tell your mom (or someone who feels like your mom): “You raised me right. The biggest lesson I’ve learned from you? This: _______________.”
Day 13: Tell your dad (or someone who feels like your dad): “You’ve given me so many gifts. Like the ability to _______________, and the confidence to _______________. Thank you.”
Day 14: Be like Diane von Furstenberg and start your day by sending out one email specifically designed to help somebody else, without directly benefiting you at all. Make introductions, send some encouragement, or offer a helpful resource or link.
Day 15: Prowl through your closet and donate some treasures to Dress For Success, or its equivalent, in your area/country. You’ll de-clutter your wardrobe plus help a struggling lady look like a star at her next job interview.
Day 16: Put away your smartphone and close down your inbox for a day (or just an hour). Give the world the gift of your undivided, non-digital attention.
Day 17: Experiment with Tonglen meditation: inhale suffering (yours and others), exhale compassion (for the whole world).
Day 18: Tip generously. Not sure how much? This is how much. Except double it.
Day 19: Record a Vocaroo message for someone you’ve been meaning to thank, for a while. Tell them: “Keep this audio note and replay it whenever you’re doubting your extraordinary awesomeness.”
Day 20: Buy a meal for a stranger and start a magical chain reaction.
Day 21: Do somebody else’s laundry. Ask for nothing in return.
Day 22: Turn a photo from your smartphone into a real postcard. Send it.
Day 23: Give someone a grrrrreat massage. Here’s how.
Day 24: Get outlandishly excited about a small piece of good news, from a friend (“You did WHAT? Just like THAT? You’re AMAZING!”). Model the kind of unbridled enthusiasm that you want to see in the world.
Day 25: Overwhelmed with things to read? Instead of cancelling your newspaper or magazine subscriptions, donate them to a local school for a few months (like this) till you’re ready to start receiving them again. Or not.
Day 26: Riding the bus? Waiting in line? Strike up a fascinating conversation with somebody who looks bored, sad, or checked out. Start by simply asking: “What was the BEST part of your day?”
Day 27: Applying for a job? Trying to woo a client? Or even just make a friend? Send them something useful and astonishingly generous, before asking for anything. (It will change your world.)
Day 28: Create a gracious auto-responder for your email, packed with helpful answers to frequently-asked questions, links, resources—or even a complimentary gift. (Need an example? Email Alexandra Franzen to see hers.)
Day 29: Buy a massage for a veteran of war. (Just call a local massage therapist, make a payment, and then contact your local Veteran’s Health Administration and pass along the details.) Yes, you can afford it.
Day 30: Call up a friend who’s been having a rough time or just an agonizingly busy week. Say: “Let me vacuum for you.” (They may weep.)
Day 31: Make a “mixtape” of uplifting, positive, soul-affirming tunes. Label it: “Listen to this when you need to remember who you are.” Leave the CD (or several copies) in a local coffee shop.
Day 32: Send a story tip to a local reporter. (Especially if it’s good news.)
Day 33: Leave a wrapped gift on top of your trashcan with a note for your friendly neighborhood waste disposal professional. They deal with unspeakable filth, every week, all for YOU.
Day 34: Brew up a big pot of (good) coffee. Fill up some eco-friendly-ish disposable cups. Offer free java to everyone at work or the bus stop.
Day 35: Buy an Amazon gift for a total stranger. (Search wishlists, here.)
Day 40: Pray for someone. Or if you don’t pray: send love.
Day 42: Help somebody land their dream job. Proof a friend’s resume. Rock out a mock interview. Loan them your lucky blazer. Tell them: “You’ve got this.”
Day 43: Volunteer to mentor an aspiring entrepreneur through your local SCORE chapter. (You don’t have to be an “expert” or know “everything.” You just have to know a few things … more than they do.)
Day 45: Leave a rave review on the iTunes page of your favorite podcast. Gush. Five stars. Bravo!
Day 46: Arrange a luxurious gift for a public school teacher. A concert pass. A nice bottle of wine. They need some love.
Day 47: Drag a friend—kicking and screaming—on stage to read a poem, do karaoke or tell a joke. Roar and cheer for them. Show them it’s safe to be visible and the center of attention.
Day 48: Ask someone, “How was your day—really?” Let that person talk about themselves, past the point of comfort. Lean in. Stay there. Be present. Let ‘em ramble. Give it that extra five minutes.
Day 49: Send a pizza to your best friend’s office. Surprise!
Day 50: Be ridiculous and shocking and start this 50-day cycle of generosity … all over again. Because you can. You’re just that glorious.