You see, I have a history of becoming a fan girl in front of the handful of creative heroes I have. Back in 2003, I may have even followed Julia Stiles to the bathroom at a Broadway show to ask for an autograph and a photo (I was 19 years old and still get red faced at the thought of being too aggressive a fan--she politely but firmly told me she would not take a photo). Though this tongue-tied-ness and sense of being awestruck have long been a part of me I have felt embarrassment over, recently I've begun to view my urge to approach creative souls I admire in a new light.
What if instead of asking them for something (a photo, an autograph, etc.), I could give them a simple thank you instead?
Would the simple act of expressing gratitude leave me feeling ashamed of my behavior and uncomfortable at the way I interacted with another human being?
Was it possible to gift someone who is admired and successful something that they too, might still need or want? To know their work has meaning and is affecting people that don't know them personally?
Turns out, a little thanks goes a long way.
While I was grabbing a straw and an extra napkin from the lunch counter, I caught Laura's eye and said "I think I listen to your podcast."
She smiled and I proceeded to tell her how much I loved listening and how listening to several episodes this winter about writing had helped give me the final push I needed to finish my first book. She was kind enough to ask what the book was about and I was able give an honest, authentic, non-creepy complement.
"Thank you so much for the work you do. It has helped me a lot. I didn't want to bother you during your afternoon, but I did want to let you know."
It felt a little awkward to approach someone I don't actually know, yes, but it would have felt a little worse to not take the chance to say anything at all.
When is the last time someone thanked you for being a positive part of their life?
Did you feel annoyed or put off by this support, or heartened by it?
Chances are, if it was done with an open heart and involved honest gratitude, you did good.
Everyone, no matter whether they are an Oscar winner or a subway busker, can stand to know that someone is noticing the things they are making, straight from the heart.
This week, choose someone whom you admire, no matter the reason. Write them a note, give them a call, or comment or direct message on social media and let them know why and how they rock your world. It doesn't matter if you get a reply, all that matters is that you take the chance to express some thanks to someone who makes the world a more magical place.
Reach out and see if you don't feel inspired to keep the chain of creative inspiration going by making some magic yourself.