Surprise and Delight

Surprise and Delight

August 27, 2012

Have you ever heard of “pixie doors?”  They are tiny painted doors that are placed at the bases of trees and structures.  Theoretically, it is my understanding that they provide portals between the human world and the fairy world.  I learned about them in a story I heard last week on NPR.  Journalist Melissa Block interviewed Alfie Dennen, curator of a database cataloging the world’s public art — both commissioned works and street art. His non-profit, Big Art Mob project, is preparing to launch and includes a map-based website and mobile apps.

It was an interesting story to be sure, but Mr. Dennen really caught my attention when he commented on why people bother to put up these tiny enchanted passageways.  He said, “I think that this is the thing which excites me most about people: they can go out into the world and they can do these things which have no intention other than to delight you or me, or whoever finds them.”  The whole notion, just thinking about it, made me smile.

What if, in the course of connecting with people and building relationships we each took an approach to surprise and delight one another.  Perhaps with a bit of extra attention to our customers, or maybe a small gift of appreciation; could be a quick, hand-written note jotted on high-quality stationary to simply say hello or congratulate someone on a job well done.  Or, if you see a great write up about someone you know in a local paper, why not cut it out and send it to him or her with a word of praise?  Believe me, it is one of those things that will make people sit up and notice.  It will make them feel great.  They will remember you for it.

Last week, a former business partner of mine, Kreg, contacted me via LinkedIn to say hello.  It has been quite some time since we connected and I was so pleased to hear from him.  We exchanged updates about work and family; he closed his last message to me with this, “I’ll never forget the nice card you sent me after our 1st meeting when I was at my former company. In fact, I still have it!”  Wow.  That was at least six or seven years ago.  I had no idea that my simple card of appreciation meant so much to him; he probably has no idea (well, now he does) how much his remarks last week meant to me.  Talk about a gift that keeps on giving… What a surprise and delight!

My hope is that more opportunities to delight others present themselves to all of us and we readily take advantage of them.  I urge you to take a moment right now to brainstorm on a little something that you can do for someone else to let them know how important they are to you be it as a colleague, a customer, a contact, a family member, a friend, etc.

So, in closing, though I regaled him with his favorite desserts – a pecan pie and a Blue Chip iced sugar cookie cake – for his birthday today (surprises and delights to be sure), I want to dedicate this post to my husband who is celebrating his 42nd birthday and to whom I will have been married for the last fifteen amazing years as of this coming Friday.  He is traditionally my editor and chief – no blog post to date has gone up without his approval.  However, I’m taking a leap of faith now by not asking him to review my work – he can take the night off!  Rather, I simply want to wish him the happiest of birthdays – many, many, many more surprising and delightful returns!!!