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Mar 29, 2020

A Small Good Thing Courtesy of Katie Settel

Raymond Carver‘s short story, A Small Good Thing, has given special meaning to that phrase. In his narrative, a tragedy occurs for a young family. But, in the midst of their sadness, a moment of caring soothes their spirits. During this quarantine, many small good things have shown up. One particularly stood out this week.

When something joyful arrives, I take note.

Katie Settel, a dear friend, client, and extraordinary photographer, brightened my day on Thursday. She sent me this video from an event of mine she’d covered nine years ago. It’s a party I’ve offered repeatedly where I invite clients to imagine what their lives will look like in five years. Designed and shared by Jack Canfield, it’s a tool that I’ve used with great results. The main takeaway is that your huge vision isn’t as out of reach as you may have thought.

Think about Katie’s process: she came up with an idea to share past work with her customers, took the time to go through her files, selected a meaningful image or video, and sent it along as a reminder of their work together. As soon as I saw her message in my inbox, I clicked on it and re-lived 3 minutes and 40 seconds of sheer joy. I thought lovingly about the women I recognized who’d attended that fun night (Denise DiGrigoli, Sandra Sergeant, Karen Pacent, Sue Cadwell, Cristin Jameson), didn’t bemoan the fact that I couldn’t come up with the names of the others who were there, and marveled at how great I looked! I remembered that I had dressed up, too, as I hoped to be five years after 2011, as a mega-successful coach and speaker with so much money it overflowed from inside my jacket!!

Katie’s gesture transformed my mood. It made me think, what could I do today to be in touch with someone I care about and possibly lift their spirits? I’ll share about some things I’ve done with that in mind in a future post.

Two other small good things I’ve heard or received I want to pass on to make your sheltering-in a bit better today:

  1. A dear friend is undergoing chemo treatments and is the recipient of a weekly prayer call. At the beginning of this week’s gathering she announced that she’s now calling this time the Great Quarantini. That coming from a recovering alcoholic made me roar.
  2. Diane Ripstein – another great friend and client sent an hysterical video called A Conference Call in Real Life in her recent newsletter. Although it’s had 18 million views since it was published in 2014, I’d never seen it, and its relevance is profound given today’s zoom culture. Diane is a master communicator and expert at helping individuals and companies sound as smart as they are. She sends meaningful content while reminding her minions that she’s doing just fine during this time and can help them when needed.

We don’t have to change the world. We don’t have to save the world. But, is there one small, good thing you can do to help make another’s world better today?



A Possible Comment Tag Line Here


  1. Barbara H.

    I can’t resist commenting on this wonderful post! As a relatively new reader to your blog, I’ve been watching and waiting – what are the norms here for commenting? “Can I?” “Should I?” or the dreaded “Do I have to?” Yesterday’s post pushed me off the fence. The links.. the videos… that Conference Call video! Thank you, Jane, for brightening my day and reminding me that small kindnesses aren’t small during this time of staying home. Stay well – physically distant and socially connected.

    • Jane Pollak

      @Barbara H I think you speak for many when you mention the hesitation to act. Thank you for sharing that vulnerability. These are unprecedented times. NO ONE KNOWS HOW TO ACT, but trusting your instincts, being kind and responsive is a good formula to start from. Thank you for your comment. It went straight to my heart.


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