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“I Wish I Had Done That Sooner:” Simplicity and Joy

I was sitting at breakfast the other day, across the table from the kind of friend with which you share hopes and dreams.

We were catching up on different projects we were working on and the aspirations we held for them.

She began to tell me about a particular step she had taken toward a bigger goal. She said, “it was one of those things where as soon as I did it, I wondered why I didn’t do it sooner. It took like two seconds and was really easy and it made me wish I had done it sooner.”

As she said that, I thought of an old Smile Project moment that still makes me laugh.

In my first year working on The Smile Project, I printed a sign of a big smiley face with the word “SMILE.” I carried it around with me, sometimes using it for mini photoshoots, etc. I always talked about getting it laminated but – at the time – that seemed like such a big thing.

Finally, I took the printed sheet to Staples, spent less than a dollar, and left with a laminated Smile sign. It took all of 2 minutes.

And it made my day.

I remember leaving with that sign feeling like I was on top of the world. I could conquer anything. After all, I had a laminated sign.

There are so many things I want to do with The Smile Project that will take a lot of time and planning and collaboration. And it’s easy to look at those projects and feel overwhelmed. But what if those big ideas could be broken down into “laminating sign” like tasks.

What if it was as simple as starting with an email? Or calling that person? Or mapping out that plan?

What if it was as simple as posting a Facebook status about what makes me happy?

The Smile Project was born from simplicity and joy. As I embark on new journeys these next few months, I am drawn back to the roots of what built this nonprofit.

Love always,


Pictured: old photo, I believe from the day the sign was born. Pure joy. Pure simplicity.

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