For those that know me know I love surprises. I’m more of the “surpriser” versus the “surprisee”, yet playing either role is always a lot of fun. Over the years I’ve been able to set up surprises for my close friends, work colleagues and family where the opportunity presents itself. It has given me the opportunity to really think about the other person, what would bring them happiness (both in the short and long term) as well as paying something forward.
The title of this post focuses on three aspects:
- Ready: The world is now used to how we deal with COVID-19. Don’t wait.
- Aim: What could you do as a surprise and how to go about it?
- Fire: Execute!
There has been much fanfare about the new normal. Everybody has their own definition and way of coming out of the COVID hibernation. Yet as time goes on I feel that humanity is getting on with life irrespective of mutations, variants, lockdowns, quarantines and so forth. We have adjusted and realise this is just a new part of how we live. There are some exceptions such as Australia. They will go through their own growing pains once borders are lifted. Yet they will have their own celebrations when they get through it too.
Fundamentally the time now is to rekindle relationships, reach out to old friends, pay it forward and to make someone special by wrapping it up in a bow and with a surprise.
There are many different ways you can surprise someone. It could be a gift, ringing someone up on the FaceTime / WhatApp or dropping something around at someone’s house. Or better yet, go all out with friends/family and surprise that loved one in person.
Over the years I’ve leaned more towards the last example. My wife met my family for the first time physically back in 2012. We orchestrated the entire plan with my Uncle in Australia in advance. He helped organise a lunch with my family in which my wife and I strolled up casually and said hello! At the time I was living in the UK and my wife (then girlfriend) was living in the US. That might sound quite difficult however with planning for half a year it was easily to do and worked out well.
If you’re looking for a more simple example here is one for you. Today I heard from a good friend who let me know she was taking on a new role and had to cut down on her spending. She mentioned that her Audible subscription had to stop in the short term and was bummed given her passion for reading. At that point of reading her email I realised I could pay it forward with a surprise. Reading has been one of the best gifts in my life and it would be an incredible struggle to have that ability taken away from me. The situation resulted in me gift her an annual Audible subscription as a surprise.
When it comes to executing, make sure you enjoy the ride. All the hard work and planning comes off with a well earned bit of emotion, a smile, a big hug, many tears and most of all memories that will last a lifetime. Over the years I’ve been able to capture most of my surprises on video. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve re-watched surprises that I’ve recorded only to relive 99% of the actual event after it has happened.
One example was my wedding. I spent about six months learning the Ukulele and Harmonica so that I could sing the song All I Want Is You by Barry Louis Polisar to my wife at our wedding.
Another more recent example was my wife and I flying to the USA so that we could surprise my mother-in-law for her 70th birthday. Both examples had relative complexities but being ready, aiming and surprising was all it took! How can you surprise someone tomorrow, next week or in the near future! Pay it forward, it’s worth the effort!