1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 small garlic clove, finely grated
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper
Combination of greens: kale, spinach and mixed
12 ounces brussels sprouts, trimmed, shredded with a knife
2 Apples slices
1/4 cup Golden raisins
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/3 cup almonds with skins, coarsely chopped
1 cup finely grated mozzarella cheese
- Combine lemon juice, Dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt, and a pinch of pepper in a small bowl. Stir to blend; set aside to let flavors meld.
- Mix thinly sliced kale, sliced apples, raisins and shredded brussels sprouts in a large bowl.
- Spoon 1 Tbsp. oil into a small skillet; heat oil over medium-high heat. Add almonds to skillet and stir frequently until golden brown in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer nuts to a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle almonds lightly with salt.
- Slowly whisk remaining olive oil in into lemon-juice mixture. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add dressing and cheese to kale mixture; toss to coat. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Garnish with almonds.
- Give a genuine compliment.
- Tell someone you love them.
- Smile at everyone you see.
- Do something nice for a stranger.
- Donate to a charity you believe in.
- Volunteer in a local community organization.
- Plan a fun social event for friends, family, and/or coworkers.
- Encourage someone to pursue one of their goals.
- Forgive someone who hurt you.
- Apologize for your mistakes.
- Catch up with an old friend.
- Be a good listener when someone needs to vent.
- Create a mix CD for a friend
- Dedicate a song or poem to someone.
- Say “please” and “thank you” – and really mean it.
- Leave a generous tip for a friendly waiter/waitress.
- Pass along a great book you’ve just finished reading.
- Print out inspirational quotes and post them around town.
- Deliver fresh-baked goods to the local fire department or police department.
- Give blood.
- Mow a neighbor’s lawn.
- Tell someone you appreciate them.
- Leave a positive comment on a blog or website you enjoy.
- Spend more time with your kids.
- Pay the toll for the car behind you.
- Take one task off your co-worker’s to-do list.
- Create a “Free Hugs” stand.
- Do something nice for yourself.
Thank you for listening to me when you had other important things to do.
When you had the courage to tell the truth in that meeting yesterday, it changed everything.
You have a way of making me laugh at just the right time.
When is the last time someone said something like this to you? What happened inside of you when you heard it? Every one of us offers gifts of all kinds to the world every day. We give, we sacrifice, we take risks, we entertain, we love, we support… and a lot of it goes unnoticed. When it is noticed, though, it’s amazing. When someone sees that little something about you or picks up on your hard work and calls it out, it’s like getting a stamp of approval.
Years ago I led a small group of high school girls through an experience we called an “encouragement circle”. We focused on each girl, one at a time, with everyone around the circle specifically describing what was amazing and unique about her. As we went around the circle, the girls did an amazing job at validating each other with really specific and potent words. One of the girls, though, didn’t quite get it. When it was her turn, she would look at the person in the center and say “You’re just…. Really nice. And like, really sweet.” Every time. Same thing. By the time we finished the exercise, no one could keep a straight face when it was her turn. Her words were not only meaningless, they had become something of a joke. One of the girls said to me later “I’ve known her since 7th grade but it’s like she doesn’t know me at all”.
Yesterday we reflected on being a good noticer (how’d you do with that?). Being a good noticer also helps you to be a good validator. Noticing and validating are like the peas and carrots of relationships. When you notice something unique and wonderful about someone else and tell them that you noticed it, something powerful happens in your brain and in theirs. Knowing and being known by others is a primal human need. The whole process – focusing your brain, being present, noticing things and articulating that back to another person – it’s like a cranial multi-vitamin.
Make today a validation day. Do better than “You’re really nice”. Change another person’s day by telling them what you’ve noticed. You’ll both be glad you did.