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100 Smiles

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12 April 2016

100 Smiles

At the start of the year I made a commitment to carry out a Random Act of Kindness each day in the hope of raising 365 smiles. Of course as this year is a Leap Year it will be 366 so they’ll be a bonus smile.

Why did I start? Well it’s a lovely thing to do of course, it’s about the community I live and work within, it’s about selflessly giving without expectation of return, it’s a great lesson for my children and it was part of some research I’m doing around ‘alignment’.

The first few days were relatively easy, it was still part of the Christmas break and I had capacity to do something spontaneous each day without any real issue. After that things became a little more difficult and thinking of new opportunities to do something was perhaps slightly more challenging especially when running between meetings, dealing with children and the usual working mum’s “stuff”.

I’d managed to donate to charities, never a huge amount but always a charity that means something to me. I left notes for strangers, gave lottery tickets to the barista on the motorway services, wrote letters of thanks for friendly service, emailed people I’d not spoken to for a while, sent books and small gift to people for assorted reasons but always to let them know they were in my thoughts. I gave clothes and books to charity and gave bags of food and toiletries to the homeless. These are just a few of 99 things that had been done by Friday 11th April, all of which I’d documented on Twitter @danisaveker

Saturday 12th April would mark the 100th day and RAK. I felt it needed to be something even more significant  to mark the occasion. 100 days – what could I do? There were a few ideas but none of that sat well with me. Then the idea came – why not touch 100 people’s hearts? How… by using social media and technology.

I created a list of 100 people. Many were chosen because I didn’t know them well. Some were connected through work, others were neighbours and a few were famous personalities. I selected people that lived near and others across the world, some old and some young – some I had infrequent contact with. The common theme was  they were all worth sending a personal note to and including one thing I most admired about them.

Writing the list of just 100 was quite challenging and I tried not to choose my closest friends and family (although some were on the list) because I thought that would be too easy. At 5.30pm I sat with a glass of wine and laptop and started with the A’s.

I had no expectations. I had no thought about anything other than what do I most admire about this person – and really went into depth with each note to consider and acknowledge one thing. I pressed send and off went the first note to Adam. 98 following in succession and at 10.45pm I sent the 100th to Will, my husband.

Something incredible happened. Just as I was sending the third note out, replies started coming back. For every one note I sent more kept coming back. The replies were unbelievable. Out of 100 people I discovered many were “in dark places” or “having a bad day” or “tough time” and they shared with me that the note came just at the right moment to lift them. An incredible amount of the people contacted told me it had made them smile but as many shared that it brought them to tears – they felt moved and touched that someone cared enough to send something out of the blue to them.

People told me that they floated on clouds all weekend and one person phoned me to say they had been so overwhelmed that they decided to do the same for someone else.

My lesson was that we don’t do this enough as a society. I urge you to consider sharing with a handful of people what you most admire about them- write a list of 5 or 10 people and drop them a note or just tell someone why you admire them. You never know what’s going on for someone else and perhaps your thoughtfulness and few minutes will mean the world to them. What a gift we can give-and it only costs time and a little thought. My 100 people brought me incredible joy and connection which I hadn’t anticipated at all.