I was dressed in my coolest “sticky weather” attire—a teal, cotton sundress—to play the farmer’s market, knowing it would be hot even in the shade.
No amount of shampoo was gonna keep away the sweat I’d likely endure, so I wore a big, floppy hat to cover my greasy locks.
At one point midway through the gig, I was feeling grateful to be there, though a bit sluggish due to the heavy humidity. As I took an ice break and walked toward the restroom, a little girl about 6 years old showed up out of the blue. She was dressed in a cute, rainbow-patterned jumpsuit and holding her mom’s hand. She glanced at me as they passed and said in a clear, self-assured voice:
“I just want to say you look beautiful.”
I looked at her surprised, partly because I definitely didn’t feel beautiful at that moment and partly because I wasn’t expecting such an eloquent, confident phrase to come from a kid her size. No one else was around. She was indeed talking to me.
“Thank you!” I smiled back at her, and we continued walking in opposite directions—she and her mom back to the market and I stepped into the restroom.
Once inside, I looked into the mirror. Even though nothing physically had changed in that 5-second interaction—I was surprised by my reflection. That little girl’s simple compliment had worked its magic. I actually FELT a little less sweaty, a little more colorful, a little less gross. She had verbally “highlighted” something she liked in the world, and had given it as a tiny gift to me. And it ever-so-slightly shifted the momentum of my day in a positive direction.
Are YOU a highlighter?
Do you regularly find ways to bring to light things you like about people (even strangers) around you?
You can brighten someone’s day with the simplest of kind words—a thank you for something they've done, an acknowledgment of them or something they care about, a compliment about something they're wearing, etc. And like a wheel rolling down a hill, by starting a positive cycle, you’d be amazed how that ball can keep rolling and rolling and rolling.
Be a highlighter every day, and I guarantee your world will become a brighter place.
You may want to keep some sunglasses handy as a result :p
On a more musical note...
We had a fabulous time singing, playing and dancing up a storm Sunday night with the Big Swing Big Band at the Covington Country Club!
It's always a pleasure and privilege to sing with this rockin' band made up of some of the best musical talent around.
This time was a special treat because I also unexpectedly got to swing dance with some old friends from college who I haven't seen in years.
AND...while standing outside with my phone to my ear to warm up, I accidentally met Patrick Hennessey, a retired musicology professor and professional trombonist who taught for many years at the University of Hawaii (so he knows all the jazz ukulele greats like Lyle Ritz--considered to be one of the founders of ukulele jazz--because he used to have them come talk to his classes!), and he now lives near me. haha
I can't even make this stuff up, y'all!
The world is a small place. Put yourself in interesting places so you can connect (and reconnect) with interesting people. You never know who you might meet.
I hope to see you soon at an upcoming gig!
Ashley Orlando is a jazz vocalist/ukulele artist and coach who helps growth-focused leaders find their voice, grow their presence & amplify their impact.