I reached into our silverware drawer for a teaspoon and noticed that pretty much all of the forks, knives, and spoons looked tarnished and worn. A few years before, I had purchased a variety of antique, silver-plated utensils because they were elegant and beautiful. I added them to several pieces of real silver left to me by a friend who passed away in the early nineties.
Although the silverware was clean, I’d never taken the time to polish it because they were beautiful as is and it didn’t seem worth the effort. That’s until my assistant Lisa went to get herself a spoon one day and commented on how nice the pieces would look if they were cleaned up.
“Why don’t you let me take the silverware home and polish it,” she offered. “I’ll do some research and find the quickest and easiest way to get the job done.”
Being supported by Lisa is like having my own personal Martha Stewart on hand. She has an eye for beauty and loves making order out of chaos. She also delights in making things look good. So, I loaded the silverware into a bag and gave it to her to take home.
Two days later Lisa showed up with the silverware wrapped in anti-tarnish paper (who even knew such a thing existed?). As she lifted each piece out of her bag, I was astonished by how beautiful they looked. I placed all the pieces back in the drawer and kept going back to look at them throughout the afternoon because they looked so good.
I had no idea what a difference polished silver could make in my daily life. As I thought about it, I realized that I use forks, knives, and spoons all the time. Why not let them be special? Even now, each time I grab a knife or fork, I still smile.
When I was first in coach training more than twenty-five years ago, my mentor, Thomas Leonard, shared three guidelines for upgrading one’s life:
Keep raising your standards.
Stop tolerating good when you can have great.
Remember that beauty is a necessity, not a luxury.
In my wisdom years, I’ve grown to understand his coaching in a way I couldn’t quite appreciate back then. Using fine china, updating bedclothes to something ultra-soft and cozy, framing a favorite photo, or polishing a cherished piece of silver fosters such delight. And it doesn’t have to break your back or the bank.
Turns out that a little bit of just the right thing can end up being something quite big after all.
P.S. –My new audiobook, Self Care for the Wisdom Years, is now available from Sounds True. You can find it, here.