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HELLo-OH! Here’s the short and the long of the HELLO REVOLUTION.

My friends used to refer to me as east coast sensible. I took it as a compliment.

Better than the California stereotypes: fake boobs, orange tans, surfers, snobs, stars, botox, wild fires and riots. They aren’t all untrue. At least where I’m from. (Yes, some of us really are from LA.)

Contrary to Katy Perry’s slant, there’s more to life than Daisy Duke’s and melted popsicles.

I craved culture. When I traveled, instead of bringing home souvenirs I brought back new customs, ideas and a greater appreciation of our differences.

Color became my new black. Trashy telenovelas replaced independent film. I refereed egg and spoon races. And every stranger who passed heard me say good day. While my heart whispered buenos días. I knew these influences would always be a part of me.

That was, until I met Philadelphia.

 

THE CITY OF BROTHERLY LOVE

I was an alien on the Northeast. Nothing about me fit in.

I hid my LA ways (yoga excluded). Bought a winter coat. Tried to learn Philly speak, jawn. I ate fewer salads and more cheesesteaks. (It’s Ishkabibbles. Not Pat’s. Or Geno’s.) I started minding my own business. I stopped greeting strangers (and never with a cheek kiss). I learned how to avert my eyes, keep my head down and pretend I didn’t see people passing. Fear consumed me. I forgot about all the things I loved. I lost a piece of me.

I lost the art of the hello.

I want it back.

 

THE FIRST STIRRINGS OF THE HELLO REVOLUTION

My therapist (who later fired me) gave me two options.

Accept it or move on. (So profound.)

Nevertheless, he wasn’t wrong.

Relocating 3,000 miles, again, was not an option. I was staying put. I needed to make a change, stat.

Walking home from yoga one night, I channeled my Guatemalan saunter and mustered up the courage to look directly into a stranger’s eyes and say (actually force out), “Hello.”

Hoping for the best, but not really expecting it, I brisk’d up my pace to get out of the way.

I almost didn’t notice the nearly imperceptible smile cross his face. I survived. (Maybe even conquered the fear that had set in since the day I moved here.)

I forced myself to do it again. She smiled and nodded. (I was shocked to get another welcoming response.)

I said hello to every person that night on my walk home.

Two smiles.

One jolt of surprise. (I get a lot of those.)

A few ignored me.

Some didn’t hear.

And several more said HELLO! With genuine warmth and connection.

 

SAY HELLO, IT’S REVOLUTIONARY

Certainly there are more daring ideas than saying hello, but few more important and meaningful.

What’s going on in the world when we don’t acknowledge people around us?

Do we even care about, or want to seek out, a little more kindness?

Hello starts a whole new day. (And what do we really have besides the now?)

It’s time to be courageous. Say hello from the heart.

Little things today make a difference tomorrow.

This is your dialog. Your revolution. It starts inside you. Say hello. The smallest gesture… the biggest smile… your voice, your confidence, the truth inside you will…

  • Boost your energy and open up an entirely new perspective.
  • Add a splash of entertainment and break up the daily grind.
  • Fight loneliness.
  • Supercharge your confidence.
  • Download your heart and head with a greater sense of connection.
  • Allow you to see the best when it feels like the good stuff has been sucked from the day.
  • Transform how you see yourself (and the world).
  • Allow you to drift off to sleep feeling different – better.
  • And, maybe even rack up a few good karma points. (‘Cause we could all use that.)

 

THE POWER OF HELLO

Howard White, former University of Maryland point guard, Vice President of Jordan Brand at Nike, author and founder of Nike’s motivational youth program Believe to Achieve, is better known by his friends and colleagues as “H.”

H would tell you his success is based on saying hello. I love the story he tells when he was a boy about 10 years old.

He narrates, “I was walking down the street with my mother. She stopped to speak to Mr. Lee. I was busy trying to bulls-eye the “O” in the stop sign with a rock. I knew I could see Mr. Lee any old time around the neighborhood, so I didn’t pay any attention to him.”

“After we passed Mr. Lee, my mother stopped me and said something that has stuck with me from that day until now. She said, ‘You let that be the last time you ever walk by somebody and not open up your mouth to speak, because even a dog can wag its tail when it passes you on the street.'”

H speaks around the world sharing stories of his success and how his character was cemented at 10 years old.

Saying hello is a way of life for him. He believes that every person deserves to be acknowledged, no matter how humble or important they may be. He spoke to people. They spoke back. And, he felt good.

I found the same to be true.

 

FIGHT TOMORROW? OR SAY HELLO TODAY

You choose.

I live in a fight or flight city filled with people who shake a tail and tell you what’s on their mind (Whether you want to hear it or not). But, they aren’t mean. They aren’t snobs. They are well meaning people moving fast in a crowded, urban city. They want to feel connected and accepted. Just like you and me.

Say hello to the familiar, the friendly, the strange…. the mildly aloof, BIG or small, funny and funny-looking, quiet, curious, weird and wonderful. Say hello to the wacky, warm, everyday things and ever so special people we meet on our path.

Say hello to the beautiful you. There’s a world of possibility waiting.

HEELLOO!!!!!

Why wait till tomorrow? Say hello. It’s revolutionizing today.

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