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Gestures Don't Have To Be Grand To Be Impressive -- Or Profitable

by C.S. Clarke, Ph.D.

Someone I knew was celebrating forty years of marriage and made a remarkable gesture. He gave his spouse an anniversary card for each day, starting forty days before the anniversary. Obviously, each card represented a year of the marriage.

It gave me an idea. I'm also celebrating a multi-decade anniversary soon and will do the same thing. Except, I'll be designing and making the cards myself. Then, after the cards are made, I plan to take the ones I think are commercially viable and put them up for sale on CafePress, Zazzle and Greeting Card Universe.

As a completion of my gesture, any profits from the cards will go to my spouse as an anniversary gift.

But that's not the end of the ideas that my friend's romantic gesture gave to me. It occurred to me that there are plenty more ways to use gestures like this for other occasions and other kinds of people. Something like it can be done for family, friends, customers, clients, prospects, teachers, bosses -- well, just about anyone.

Doing something for another where it is the thought (or gesture) that counts is an ancient and wonderful practice. The grandeur of the "grand gesture" is more frequently in the thought than in the actual act. How many women have been impressed by the gesture of "a single perfect rose?"

Who hasn't been touched by O. Henry's famous story, "The Gift of the Magi?" (Just a reminder, it's the story in which an impoverished young husband and wife each make a personal sacrifice to give the other a Christmas present. The wife sells her luxurious hair to buy a chain for her husband's prized pocket watch, while the husband sells the pocket watch to buy decorative combs for the wife's hair.)

You don't have to do something extravagant, expensive or self-sacrificing to achieve a high level of impact on your target audience. You just have to have an idea of what touches their hearts.

Another friend of mine, an associate who worked with me in my psychotherapy practice, had a client who was "graduating" from therapy. The client was also in A.A. As a parting gesture, my associate used her skills in calligraphy to make a copy of the "serenity prayer," and framed it with flowers in a shadow-box frame. That client was more than simply touched. He referred clients to her for many years after.

On a larger scale, I read about an internet-based coach who made an inspirational slide show video, one that she could have sold for a good price. But she made it freely available on YouTube. The video and the fact that it was free to see, download or to embed on other websites, was so grandly touching it sent hundreds of thousands of visitors to her website over several years.

What kind of small or grand gestures can you make that would touch, inspire or motivate others? What kind of people do you want to do them for? How will that profit you psychologically, socially, spiritually or financially?


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