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September 15, 2015

The Smallest Act With the Biggest Impact

When I lived in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, there was one dry cleaners on Lebanon Pike that I always used. Every time I went in there, I would hear a woman’s voice shouting “Hello!” excitedly from behind the forest of clothes....

The Smallest Act With the Biggest Impact

When I lived in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, there was one dry cleaners on Lebanon Pike that I always used. Every time I went in there, I would hear a woman’s voice shouting “Hello!” excitedly from behind the forest of clothes. She’d dig her way to the front of the shop and come around the counter and hug me, talking a mile a minute. (I know, like I have any room to talk!) She was energetic and funny and crazy all in one, which is my favorite kind of people.

The whole time she would try to get my information in order to take my clothes, she would interject compliments mid-sentence.

“Christy, when do you want this? You’re so pretty! Thursday okay? You’re so skinny! What’s your number . . . SO SKINNY!”

Naturally, I loved this woman. In fact, I started “needing” my dry cleaning done a few times a week just because every time that I went in there, she made me feel amazing about myself!

I don’t remember her name. I don’t even remember if she did a good job on my dry cleaning. But as the famous quote by Maya Angelou goes, I’ll never forget the way she made me feel.

It doesn’t matter if you’re working in a steaming-hot dry cleaning shop, or you’re a big fancy deal on Wall Street. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking to a garbage collector, your kids, a stranger or your boss. We have the opportunity every day to do what my dry cleaning friend did—to make the other person feel amazing. We have the ability to make them feel worthy, loved, accepted and enough. We have the chance to make their day, lift their spirits, and bring them joy. We have the ability to change their outlook, their mood and their attitude—and therefore impact everyone else that person comes in contact with the rest of the day.

And all that it takes is kindness. Kindness is as simple as a compliment or word of encouragement, a smile or a hug. It is something that requires so little effort, but produces immeasurable results. Kindness is the smallest act with the biggest impact.

I guarantee you that my dry cleaning friend would never imagine that seven years later, I would be telling a story about how she impacted my life through her kindness. But that’s what kindness does. It’s throwing a rock in a pond that creates 1,000 ripples. Things are different and better, even though you may never see the full effect. And it all happens just because you told a customer dropping off her dry cleaning one day that she was pretty.

So let’s be generous with our compliments, lavish with our encouragement, and relentless with our kindness. The people we impact may never remember our name. And they may never remember even what we did exactly. But I assure you, they will never ever forget how we made them feel.

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Leave a Comment

  1. Dot says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. How important our words are to others. Its easy to tear down. Building up . . . now that is thoughtful. Thank you.

  2. Excellent post, wise words! You made a big impact on my day by telling this story- 1000 ripples accomplished

  3. Jen says:

    I don’t compliment others really because I get so embarrassed when people compliment me! It makes me so uncomfortable I don’t want to make others feel like that. Interesting…

  4. JoAnna says:

    I work at an employment office and everyday I start my day off with positive story telling etc. Chris Brown/Joel Osteen as I get ready. I encourage my coworkers to listen to positive things in the morning due to any/everyone who walks through our doors are needing or/and wanting help inspiration or someone to help them believe it will get better I pray and thank God I have been given this job everyday because I do see hope/promise and the best in everyone and pray God gives me the talent to show them their importance and hope. Christy we are given the gift to help and inspire others and I love life even when I have my own heart aches. Bless you and your family and goats/horses. lol

  5. JoAnna says:

    PS looking forward to your workshop in Tenn. woohoo, I will also be attending the two Louisville speaking engagements. Love the hope and message Dave’s team share.