One of the fun things I do when I’m up on stage is play the harmonica. I often open my talks by performing Minuet in G by Johann Sebastian Bach followed by a blues number written by Sonnyboy Williamson.
Because I want to show my audiences that even though Bach and Williamson – and every other western musician for that matter – used the same notes, they were able to come up with very different pieces of music. The parallel I like to draw is that the people in my audiences can do the same things with their businesses and their lives. They can take the same rules and regulations, the same expectations and explanations, that everyone else deals with, and they can combine them in their own unique way to build their own powerful brands.
At the end of my talks I have everyone reach under their chairs. That’s where we’ve taped branded harmonicas for each person in the audience.
After my new friends in my audience get over the surprise of finding something fun that they’ve been sitting on all along, I teach them all a little ditty (inhale, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale) they can all play. Those few toots turn out to be the hook to a great rock song they all know (you know it too, by the way). When they all learn the little ditty, we perform the song together. Not only does everyone in the audience have a great time, but I get everyone up off their seats up to play together, which positions them perfectly to give me a standing ovation when I’m finished (a cheap stunt, I admit, but it works like gangbusters).
Usually after my talk (and after the standing O, of course) someone will come up to me and shyly ask if they could have a second or even a third harmonica. Their reason is always the same: they have a few children at home and already know the disaster they’d be fomenting if they didn’t bring a harmonica for each kid. Knowing this happens almost every time I do a gig, I always pack a few extra harmonicas in my briefcase to hand out.
After that I get a big thank you and everyone goes merrily on their way.
But today I received this note from my friend Patrick who had been in my audience in Texas a few weeks ago.
I’ve been meaning to send you a thank you note for weeks. Originally I was going to write you one and physically mail it—but then I got concerned as to whether or not that was safe thanks to Coronavirus and people touching the mail.
Long story short—this thank you is WAAAAY overdue!!
My daughter Sydney LOVES the harmonica you gave me for her. It was an instant love. She plays different notes on it and she calls the low notes her “leaf blowers.”
With everything going on in the world today, I have joy in my house and an almost three-year old who proudly says, “I want to make music with my ’monica.”
Thank you for making this happen.
Truly, I owe you big time as you’ve given me something priceless in this time that really does make my days brighter (And no… even a few weeks in we don’t find it annoying. Why? Because it is the sound of a kid without a fear in the world. That is pretty pleasant).”
Patrick also included this picture of his daughter playing her ’monica.
After opening the file, I wrote back, “Are you kidding me?? That photograph is one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen. Thank you for making my day, my week, my month, hell… my decade.”
The truth is that during this time of Coronavirus, when everything seems so complicated and unknowable, the simple delight of a two and a half-year old tooting happily on her ’monica might be all it takes to restore our faith in mankind and the future. And let’s face it, we could all use a little more of that these days, couldn’t we?
I hope you can find pleasure in the little delights in your world too. My friend, the famous best-selling author of The Joy of Success Susan Ford Collins, would say that your enchantments are proof that the universe is putting little explosions of joy in your life.
Me? I’m not so sure about that. But I do know that I’m just happy Sydney loves her ‘monica. I hope you find things to be happy about too!