Lollipop Shop: How One Store Turned Lollipop Moments Into A Motivational Store Front

Here’s a great story about how a gift store in South Africa turned Lollipop Moments into a month-long event, seeking to inspire their customers.
Have you submitted your Lollipop Moment? Share yours with and you could win a $100 donation for the charity of your choice!
In June last year, KIN on Kloof (a South African gift store) set up inviting, giant lollipops in one of its windows, and a small wooden writing desk with blank thank-you notes in the other, and launched a Lollipop Campaign. Featured in several media articles, the initiative encouraged customers and curious passers by to take a moment from their day to write a thank you note to someone who had changed the course of their lives with a small moment of simple kindness. Throughout the month KIN provided the materials and space for the cards to be written, then stamped and posted every card.

The campaign was launched in celebration of KIN’s second year as a permanent shop on Cape Town’s trendy Kloof Street. Chantal Louw, owner of KIN, was moved when a friend shared Drew Dudley’s TEDTalk on the concept of a “lollipop moment” and how he had connected two strangers with a humble lollipop and unknowingly changed their lives. She immediately resonated with the idea as her Kloof Street store was launched in just such a way when one of the artists, with whom she worked, took the time to mention a space on Kloof Street that she knew had just become available. The timing was impeccable and within a month, before it had even been advertised, the space was booked to become the inspiring local design store that it is today. As Chantal heard Drew’s words, she immediately wanted to grab a piece of paper and pen, and write to the person who had given her so much without realising the enormous impact of her actionChantal then thought of others she wished to thank, and realised if everyone she knew took a moment to think, gratitude would begin to hum in hundreds of hands, minds and hearts.

Deciding to act and enthusiastically forward the message, KIN shared the TEDTalk with friends and customers. Each day generated a buzz of positivity and ended with batches of thank-you postcards ready to be sent all over the world thanking strangers, employees, students, friends, sisters, mentors, fathers, colleagues, grandparents and all sorts of others. As every year Cape Town hosts thousands of international 
visitors, KIN on Kloof and KIN at V&A saw notes being written in many different languages but knew the essential message was the same: thank you. For those who didn’t have the name or address of the person they wished to thank, KIN encouraged them to write the notes anyway because it is the act of being grateful that is as important.

Chantal’s idea behind the window exhibition, and the “pay it forward” approach, was to foster a true sense of self-awareness within the community. “It’s about redefining leadership,” she says, “Being a good person through acknowledging the little serendipitous moments in your life. Everybody has a life-defining moment that came about as a result of someone doing something really tiny. Sometimes that person might not even know the ultimate effect of this one little thing that they did. Something simple like smiling at a complete stranger, for example. That smile could be exactly what that person needed at that exact moment.”

Drew’s inspiration has stayed with Chantal, KIN and all those who surround, connect with and support the KIN stores. Even when the bright lollipops made way for the next exhibition; the month’s sweetness stayed behind - fused into the very structure of KIN and what it hopes to give back to the world.


Today’s Lollipop Moment - Be Each Others’ Heroes

Has your life been impacted by someone without them even knowing it? Or have you done something that may have seemed small to you, but made a big difference to someone else? Share your Lollipop Moments with us, and each month one submission will earn $100 to the charity of your choice! Email your submission to

Today’s submission is from Mike Derricott.

It was mid-winter of my grade five year in Southern Alberta Canada. It started off as a normal day but things took a dramatic turn for the worse at the end of the lunch break. For some reason a classmate of mine, Jeremy*, had decided I needed a good beating (I honestly have no recollection of what had caused the discord). Being similar in stature to each other I wasn’t too worried about the situation. It was then that Jeremy was joined by his cousin who was in grade 7. He might as well have had Conan the Destroyer as a side kick. Grade 7!?!?! Those guys are huge! I mean they must have weighed in at like 90 lbs, which seems like a lot when you’re a 65lbs soaking wet kinda 5th grader.  

The final lunch bell was like the executioner’s gong and I was the intended victim. Jeremy’s 7th grade cousin slammed me up against the locker and assured me the afternoon Language Arts class would be the last of my earthly experiences. I spent the afternoon dreading the dismissal bell as no young person ever should. Mrs. Milne could have gone on about comma use for years and I would have thankful for it. An afternoon period that usually seemed to last for days elapsed in mere seconds to my increasingly panicky mind. My survival instinct kicked in just prior to the class ending. Even though it was mid-winter, freezing cold and snowy outside  I would abandon my winter gear and make a break straight for my bus. Forget mittens and toques and boots—a little frostbite was preferable to my ultimate destruction. When the bell rang I sprung from desk and ran to the door exiting the school. As I sprinted up to the door my escape plan quickly evaporated. By virtue of some sort of breach to the space time continuum, Jeremy and his massive pugilistic cousin already stood waiting for me outside the doors. A grim realization set in: I was about to take a beating.

I slowly trudged back to my locker figuring I might as well be warm if I am to be left laying bloody on the school yard. As I stood staring blankly into my locker, unable to think of any other way to delay or avoid the inevitable confrontation with the two angry middle schoolers waiting just outside for me, one of my good friends walked up having noticed my distress. He inquired as to why I looked so upset (I suppose due to my resembling a man with his neck in the noose). I shared my plight with my friend and offered him my favorite possessions following my certain demise. My friend then suggested an idea so generous and daring that it bordered on lunacy. He told me to give him my coat and I would wear his. We both had full ski masks which covered our faces due to the winter cold. “They won’t know it’s me and you can escape while they chase me” he said. It was as though he had offered to take a bullet in the chest for me. But as he went on the plan began to seem like it had a chance. My friend was the fastest and hardest person to capture during our schoolyard games. Maybe he could escape what would be certain death for me! Seeing his confidence in his ability to escape and due to the fact that he only had to make it about half a block from the school  to his house I agreed. We switched snow gear and made our way to the exit.

As we approached I was struck with apprehension. They will see right through this ruse and perhaps we will both be in for it. My friend did not even slow down as he pushed open the door to confront the waiting assailants.  I had no choice but to follow half a step behind. I paused only briefly as I realized they did not appear interested in me at all. They were glaring menacingly at my friend. Could they really be deceived? In a flurry of action my friend broke out into a sprint into the school yard and Jeremy and his cousin bolted after him. I made a mad dash to my bus and scrambled inside quickly turning to see my friend make a quick change of direction which caused the 7th grade enforcer to stumble to his knees. Jeremy continued his pursuit of my friend, who he thought was me all along.  A few moments later, when he realized his henchman was not still with him, he gave up the chase. My friend continued running safely to his house.

I was in awe at my friend’s courage, his willingness to put himself on the line for me, and without a doubt his elusiveness in the open field. A characteristic which had always frustrated me as a competitor now seemed the most glorious display I had ever witnessed.  My friend did not perceive the same level of danger in the situation as I did and so in taking my place he might not have recognized that to me it was quite literally as though he saved my life. I concede that my life was not in actual jeopardy, but to a young boy this act was such a display of true friendship that I have yet to experience a moment I would consider its equal. That moment changed me. It continues to empower me and impress me to this day. My friend, through what was a relatively simple escape for him, had profoundly impacted my young heart and mind. I have reflected on this again and again.

My conclusion is this: we can be each others’ heroes. Regular people doing regular things for each other has a power that can change the hearts and minds of the world. The greatest part of this is that we are already doing such acts for each other. You may have offered to cover a portion of a class presentation for a college schoolmate who is terrified of public speaking when getting up in front of a class doesn’t bother you at all. You made a difference. You may have encouraged one of your girl friends to stand up for herself to a demanding and degrading boy and as such empowered her to escape what was for her a terribly oppressive relationship that was slowly crushing her self-esteem. These simple acts often go unnoticed by the doer but NOT by the receiver. My encouragement to us all is to let these people, who have ifluenced us in simple but profound ways, know that because of their involvement in your life you are a better person. There is a beautiful vulnerability in this acknowledgement which can quickly give way to a realization that we are all each others’ heroes.

My friend who saved me that day has been my best friend for 20 years. My children call him and his wife uncle and auntie and he knows how much that one moment means to me.

Today’s “Edge of the Bed Advice” - You Gotta Eat If You’re Gonna Drink

If you were sitting on the edge of the bed of your son or daughter the night before they left home for good, what advice would you give them?  What are the most important lessons life has taught you so far?  Ultimately, what perspectives, actions, or ideas have played the biggest role in your happiness?

That is the “Edge of the Bed Question”.  I’ve decided to pose it to as many people as I can, and share their insights here.

Ian Brodie researches and teaches courses in folklore and popular culture at Cape Breton University. He is the author of A Vulgar Art: A New Approach to Stand-Up Comedy, coming from University of Mississippi Press in December 2014. He is also the editor of Contemporary Legend: the Journal of the International Society for Contemporary Legend Research, and has served as President of the Folklore Studies Association of Canada.

I actually do spend a lot of time on the edge of my son’s bed, giving advice. He’s about to turn six, so it might not be smoothly transferable to this audience: much of it is of the “Try not to fart in public: not everyone finds it funny” kind. (For the record: that’s still good advice. You’re welcome.)

I live in a metaphorically small corner of the universe: academics, within a discipline that everyone thinks must be kind of cool but no one quite understands (Folklore). I also live in a literally small corner of the universe: Cape Breton, whose strengths and challenges are equally well attested. And through my office door, year after year, come young people (that makes me sound so old) who are trying to reconcile the expectations placed upon them by a host of differing parties.

My professional obligation, on one mercenary level, is to convince them of the inherent value in pursuing Folklore, or at least a Liberal Arts degree, or at least least a university degree. I can wax eloquently on all three if need be. But I can’t in good conscience press them too hard towards following a model that worked for me, if only because my modicum of success in it has come by as much through luck and circumstance then by any innate gifts. Education should be emancipatory, but when it is from the very real bondage of economic want and abandoned opportunities within a post-industrial context, the abstractions of freedom of the mind remain abstractions. I had the advantage of coming from better economic circumstances with a safety net that allowed my indulgences: it has taken me a long time to unlearn the naiveté privilege permits without wholly dismantling the sense of optimism required for motivation.

Tim Russert, the former host of NBC’s Meet the Press, used his father’s adage as a motto: “You gotta eat.” The plain speech worked: how could it not? Late in life he told his father about that as a motivator (it was the name of a chapter in his memoir), and his father informed him that he had missed the second half of the proverb: “You gotta eat if you’re going to drink.” ( This is the crux of the advice I give students (who may have wished it had been relayed to them on the edge of a bed prior to their adult lives commencing).

So: you gotta eat. There are immediate needs that must be met that are practical and vital. Let us work towards the day when there are no obstacles to personal liberty and realizing potential: in the meantime, there are, and you must deal with them. There is prioritizing you must do, in the present and in the long term. How, right now, do you meet these basic needs for yourself and for others, and what plan do you have to meet these needs in the future so that, hopefully, your every waking moment will not be spent in their pursuit?

If you are paying for post-secondary, do you mortgage your future now through loans, do you work in the wage economy in your precious spare time, or do you demonstrate to some benefactor (parents and family, the institution, a third party) that there will be a return on investment and get them to pay for it? (Likely it is two or three of these in combination.) If something intervenes to change the delicate balance (a child, a loss, a move) how do you compensate? Can you? Ought you to? If you are not pursuing post-secondary, no problem: some form of post-secondary schooling is more or less a minimal criterion for entry to a pay-scale approaching a modicum of comfort, but it is neither a guarantee nor the only path.

But you gotta eat: advice that forgets this is elitist. Career needs to be based in pragmatics. If your needs are few, congratulations: many others do not have that liberty, as their responsibilities are many and complex.  

But you wanna drink too. As creatures we have basic needs, not much different from those of nature. We can do so much more, and – most importantly – we have the realm of play. We have the capacity to exert our energies in ways that might not serve an obvious purpose but that let us apply the physical and intellectual abilities we have honed for survival – in the contemporary wporld as much as in nature – to new and abstract questions. Play shouldn’t be understood as mere frivolity: it is the recombination of our capacities and knowledge in innovative and creative ways. It is the pursuit of the question “What if…?”

What if the floor were made of lava? What if William Shakespeare had worked with people of colour prior to writing “The Tempest”? What if a redistribution of wealth could be ameliorated through a different conception of the market economy?

The universe moves forwards when we discover new possibilities: we discover those possibilities through playing with what we know. And to play with what we know, we have to know it.

So be as curious as you can, about the way things are and about how things could be (or ought to be, if we want to impose an order on things). Get your stuff settled, then engage with the world as much as you can because you can. And, although the world is open to you, you don’t have to engage all of it: curiosity focussed by passion is the best kind.

It doesn’t have to be big, or grand, or epoch-changing. You don’t have to go to a library or slog through the internet (the latter can be counter-productive and the former can be gruelling). Simply ask someone a question: conversation and friendly are the great arenas for verbal play, where facts and ideas can be bantered back and forth. Simply being open to new ideas is the way forward.

Let me put my university professor cap back on to end this, although the advice still works if treated metaphorically. The student is in the office, unsure of what to do next, and I am advising her on the courses needed to complete the program.

Do the required courses: spread them out rather than do them in a glut. Balance them in your schedule. Then choose electives. What looks interesting? What are your friends in? What works around your required courses? Here there is flexibility. If you hate it, well, you’ve only got to endure it for a few hours a week for a few months, and then you never have to see it again. But it might be fun, or it might bend back on your current programme and bring new insights to it, or it might change your life entirely.

Finally, things are not only about the program. The one piece of concrete advice I wish I had before heading to university is to go to everything: every guest lecture, faculty lecture, book launch, conference, whatever. Hearing people talk about their ideas is cool. And they’re almost always catered.

Because you gotta eat.

Follow Ian on Twitter @AVulgarArt.

Today’s Lollipop Moment - Friends For Life

Has your life been impacted by someone without them even knowing it? Or have you done something that may have seemed small to you, but made a big difference to someone else? Share your Lollipop Moments with us, and each month one submission will earn $100 to the charity of your choice! Email your submission to

Today’s submission comes to us from Chantelle Foreman-Meadows.

While coordinating the 2002 Shinerama campaign I had spoken with a mom of a child living with cystic fibrosis.  While discussing my plans with her about the campaign she told me her daughter has cystic fibrosis, at the time I was unsure if she said had or has, and I wasn’t going to ask her to clarify.  I carried on with the campaign until I required her assistance as the local volunteer contact.  She had given me her personal and work contact but I was unable to get a hold of her for weeks.

 Finally on July 23, 2002 I made another call that would change my life forever.  I had called the home of our volunteer Vicki and someone answered.  I asked for Vicki, and they had told me she was unavailable, but they would take a message.  As they were taking the message, Vicki ran to the phone.  She told me how her 19 year old daughter, Renee had just passed away because of cystic fibrosis just four hours ago.  I was in shock and cried, I joined Shinerama because I wanted to help the sick kids breathe.

 A few days later, I paid my respects to Renee and her family.  I was told that my call gave the family hope that they would one day find a cure for cystic fibrosis.  Almost 13 years later, my commitment for the children and adults living with cystic fibrosis is my career, my passion and my entire family’s’ commitment to find a cure and control for cystic fibrosis.

 All things happen for a reason, I made that call at that time because it was needed.  Now I am truly lucky to have found a cause I am truly committed to as well as, the blessing to meet so many fabulous people across Canada.  Friends for life they say.

Today’s “Edge of the Bed Advice” - Learning From Risking Failure

If you were sitting on the edge of the bed of your son or daughter the night before they left home for good, what advice would you give them?  What are the most important lessons life has taught you so far?  Ultimately, what perspectives, actions, or ideas have played the biggest role in your happiness?

That is the “Edge of the Bed Question”.  I’ve decided to pose it to as many people as I can, and share their insights here.

Today, Salima Hirji talks about how stepping out of our comfort zone and risking failure is worth doing.

It’s cliché and something you’ll hear time and time again, but get outside of your comfort zone. That little bit of discomfort can make all the difference when it comes to your personal growth. More important than that is knowing when to seek out these uncomfortable moments. The world will often try and shelter you from the biggest learning opportunities, only because it (including us, your friends and family) will want to protect you. Heck, I’ve probably been doing it to you your whole life. But this is where you take charge. Getting advice from people who’s opinions you value should never be discounted (if you don’t seek my opinion I’ll be a bit upset), but you need to know when to step back from it all, and make the right decision for yourself.

When I was deciding between moving to Toronto and London right after graduating from university, the people closest to me encouraged me to choose Toronto. It offered many things including a professional network, friends, and family. It was likely to be a relatively smooth transition from Vancouver. I appreciated all of their thoughts and advice but was still torn between the two cities. It wasn’t until I unplugged for a week (no phone, laptop or iPad) that I gained clarity and knew I wanted to move to London. My friends and family saw Toronto as the obvious choice because they wanted to protect me. To them, London was on the other side of the world and I’d be headed there without a job, network or support system. However, part of me knew it was a challenge I desperately wanted and one that I was ready to take on.

Often the fear of rejection and failure stops us from tiptoeing outside of the world we’re used to and trying something different. I want you to stop viewing these potential downfalls as negative outcomes and instead see them as lessons. Most of your growth will come from these moments when you’re incredibly uncomfortable or ‘failing’.

Salima recently moved to the UK and now innovates retail at TrueStart ( You can usually find her people watching, brainstorming business ideas or painting. Most of all, she loves helping others carve out their unique niche in the world. Get in touch through or Twitter @salimahirji.

Today’s Lollipop Moment - Glasses

Has your life been impacted by someone without them even knowing it? Or have you done something that may have seemed small to you, but made a big difference to someone else? Share your Lollipop Moments with us, and each month one submission will earn $100 to the charity of your choice! Email your submission to

Today’s submission comes from Rick Franzosa, who shared this post from his blog with us.

I was listening to a podcast the other day, TED Radio Hour.  The topic was Disruptive Leadership, but the one talk that stood out for me was a discussion byDrew Dudley entitled “Have You Changed Someone’s Life Without Realizing It?”

In this talk, Mr. Dudley relates a story of how HE changed someone’s life. It is a GREAT story.  A lollipop figures into the story ( you can google ‘lollipop moment’ and get to the same talk).

This got me thinking about my own “lollipop moments”.  In the 6th grade, I was having difficulty seeing the blackboard at school.  My parents took  me to the eye doctor and had me fitted with glasses.  Now, at Bentley School in Manchester, CT, there were only two male teachers.  One of these teachers was my 6th grade teacher, Mr. Ewald.  When I went to school my first day with glasses, he stopped me in the playground, looked down at me and said, “Richard, you look handsome in those glasses”.

Friends, I’ve seen pictures of myself in 6th grade, and let me tell you, I looked DORKY in those glasses….  But to this day, I can see him. towering over me, almost as tall as the basketball pole behind him.  I’ve rarely considered contact lenses, and never thought seriously about laser eye surgery.   Five decades out of 6th grade, I still wear those glasses.

Even in my adult life, I can remember an executive at a company I worked for back in the 80′s telling me “You’d make a great salesperson!”  I followed his advice, though I had always been an engineer, and never felt that sales was for me.

On the giving end of ‘lollipop moments, my daughter, on more than one occasion, has said,  ”You know, Dad.  I always remember you telling me ______”  and the ‘fill in the blank’ is something wise and thoughtful that I have no recollection of ever saying to her.

Keep in mind this cuts both ways.  A careless derogatory comment has as long a life as a quick compliment.  So, be nice.  You never know when what you say will be that ‘lollipop moment’ for someone else.


Today’s “Edge of the Bed Advice” - Own Your Decisions

If you were sitting on the edge of the bed of your son or daughter the night before they left home for good, what advice would you give them?  What are the most important lessons life has taught you so far?  Ultimately, what perspectives, actions, or ideas have played the biggest role in your happiness?

That is the “Edge of the Bed Question”.  I’ve decided to pose it to as many people as I can, and share their insights here.

I met today’s contributor the same way I’ve met so many of the most extraordinary people in my life: through “Shinerama – Students Fighting Cystic Fibrosis”.  She’s inspired me through her own battle with CF, almost as much as she has with her ability to truly accept people as they are.  Today’s contribution comes from my only friend who “retired” before 30: Lindsey Thompson.


There are so many things I would want to say to my daughter or niece before they left home. A lot of them would be things not to do in order to avoid being hurt or feeling pain. Trying to pass on the wisdom that I have lived through. However, anything I would say would come down to one fundamental piece of advice: to live with no regrets and to own your decisions.

Life is full of decisions and always stressing or regretting the decisions you make will do nothing for you. Even if you are unhappy with an outcome, worrying and fixating over it will not help. It is better just to accept the course that you followed and where you are now and move on from it.

All your decisions, good and bad, are life lessons that help mold you into the person you are today. Everyone is different partially because they have had to make different decisions for themselves. These choices have made you into who you are. I am sure I am not the only one that did not listen to all the advice my parents gave me and looked back thinking “yep, they were right, that was stupid”, or “why did I do that?”

By making my own decisions and therefore my own mistakes I have grown as a person and learned my own rules, not just those of my parents. For example, I now know that spiced rum is horrible and should be avoided at all costs, or that going out with friends three to four times a week does not equal great grades in University.

I can honestly say I don’t regret anything I have ever done in my life. Some life lessons I would have gladly gone without, but then I would not have that knowledge now. Without those experiences I may make the same mistakes in the future because I do not know any better.

When we really are not pleased with our lives and the decisions we made all we need to do is make a decision to change it. If nothing changes, nothing changes. Being upset and complaining about an outcome does nothing for you except cause more stress and unhappiness. Do something about it and change your situation.  change your circumstances, learn from past decisions and make better ones.

That would be my advice, live your life so that you do not have regrets and you learn all the life lessons you can.

Today’s “Edge of the Bed Advice” - Lose Your Ego

If you were sitting on the edge of the bed of your son or daughter the night before they left home for good, what advice would you give them?  What are the most important lessons life has taught you so far?  Ultimately, what perspectives, actions, or ideas have played the biggest role in your happiness?

That is the “Edge of the Bed Question”.  I’ve decided to pose it to as many people as I can, and share their insights here.

Paul Warner is a marketing a communications professional in Spokane, Washington with a M.S. degree in communications and a B.A. in journalism. Paul is an avid runner, lifter, and music, TV series, and movie fan.


I pretty much freeze whenever I’m put on the spot to remember anything of value. I have what the French call “l’esprit d’escalier” or “staircase wit.” Meaning, I will think of the perfect thing to write the minute after I press send.

Much of my life I spent in a fast-paced haze, with big dreams of doing so-called important, glamorous work. When I started out, I worked at a wonderful, supportive place that I enjoyed very much and cherished my co-workers. My girlfriend (who had a highly image-conscious job) pressured me that I could do better - that I should take more prestigious work. So I complied and took a job that took up a lot more hours with people I didn’t like as much. But the job appeared illustrious to folks and my girlfriend could proudly say, “Oh, my boyfriend is a ________!” I was miserable, and did it simply to keep up appearances, much longer than I should have.

After five years, I had to reassess what I was doing and why I was doing it. My life was a stagnated and frustrating mess, but I didn’t want to try something different.

And why was that? For one reason only - ego. I had a self-image I needed to maintain to keep up appearances. I lived that way for far too long. Most have heard the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.  Fortunately, I finally learned it was OK to be wrong. It was OK to change my mind. I have since learned to adapt and change, and NEVER let my ego decide the next course of action. It usually steers me wrong.

The people I have been most impressed with in life are humble, unassuming leaders who seem to not allow their ego to dictate what they should say, do or act upon. With ego out of the way, there is nothing to prove and life’s decisions can be made calmly and clearly. One can no longer be hurt or frightened that their ideas won’t work. We can listen to each other and remember that we don’t need to always “win” or prove a point. We have all met those who believe that their way is the only right way and cannot believe their arrogance is harming others. Oftentimes, ego is a response to hurt feelings or an, “Oh yeah, I’ll show them” response. There is never a time or place for it. It has no reason to play a major part of our lives and we are better off without it. Spend time proving you can build a coalition of friends and co-workers rather than just proving yourself. You will be in a much better place in your personal and professional life.

Next time you are making a decision, ask yourself; “Is this best for me, or my ego? You might be surprised by the honest answer only you can know. You have heard, “To thy own self be true.” Trust your gut. Do what you know in your heart is right for you.  Never choose to do something based on what you think will impress people. There is nothing wrong with believing in yourself, but that is different from being ego-driven. Learn to own -and learn from- failure, it’s the only way to improve. Embrace your mistakes and lose your ego. Be humble and respect others. Inspiration and help may come from where you least expect it.

Follow Paul on Twitter pmwarner or send him a tweet; he’ll likely respond in between new episodes of House of Cards!

Share Your Lollipop Moment and Support Your Favourite Charity!

Have you been inspired by someone whose actions made a difference in your life without them even knowing it? Or has someone told you about a way in which you impacted them through a gesture or action that you may not have thought much of at the time? These are Lollipop Moments: small actions that can have a big impact on someone’s life or the way they view the world around them, and while they may seem small, they are true acts of leadership.

We feel that Lollipop Moments are important and that they should be shared so that those responsible can be aware of the impact their actions have made, and so others can be inspired and strive to create more of these moments. By realizing the impact each of us can have on others, we can be come powerful and effective agents for change.

That’s the goal of The Lollipop Challenge: to share our Lollipop Moments and inspire others to realize the power of their actions and inspire them to be a positive influence on others. To do this, we’ll be asking those who have a Lollipop Moment to share to send it to us, and we’ll post them here. Each month we’ll pick the best one and donate $100 to the charity of that person’s choice!

Have a Lollipop Moment to share? Email it to use at and you could be making a difference to not only those who read it, but your favourite charity as well!

-The Nuance Leadership Team

Today’s “Edge of the Bed Advice” - The Storytelling Principle

If you were sitting on the edge of the bed of your son or daughter the night before they left home for good, what advice would you give them?  What are the most important lessons life has taught you so far?  Ultimately, what perspectives, actions, or ideas have played the biggest role in your happiness?

That is the “Edge of the Bed Question”.  I’ve decided to pose it to as many people as I can, and share their insights here.

Jay McNeil is a man of many talents who has inspired countless people with his public weight loss. Jay is a news director, radio personality, author, and genuinely great person.


When I was a kid one of my favorite books was an old coil-bound copy of Allistair MacGillvary’s Songs of Cape Breton - a collection of definitive island music.  I couldn’t read the notes but night after night I studied the lyrics to every song.  I spent hours singing them to anyone who would listen, sometimes just to the stuffed animals propped up along my bedroom wall.
It didn’t take me long to realize my fascination with music was fuelled more by the stories the songs were telling than any appreciation I had for the music itself.  I can’t play a single instrument but I’m still obsessed with lyrics - even working in Top 40 radio where the lyrics sometimes seem to be nothing more than a collection of disconnected autotuned syllables sampled with synthed-up beats originally recorded by an artist long since dead. 
Yet, those Cape Breton songs of industry and struggle, those odes to coal and steel, they told the stories of my home.  They connected me to men and women I didn’t know, to a way of life different from the one I was living.   Those songs taught me I didn’t have to look halfway across the world to see that people were living life a different way. Those lyrics showed me that people just a few houses down were growing up with a completely different perspective of their community and the world.   It wasn’t the music that gave me this perspective - it was the stories told in the lyrics.
That’s how I became a storyteller.  I’ve worked as a writer, a reporter, a talk-show host on local-tv and radio, and eventually became a radio News Director and author not just because I enjoy hearing great stories, but because I love the process of helping people realize they have a story worth telling.
I’m my most passionate self when I’m talking with people about where their passion lies.  Nothing is as thrilling to me as helping someone gain perspective on their own unique story just by showing an interest and asking questions that go beyond the obvious because sometimes - most of the time - people have no idea how unique their story is, or how little perspective they have on their own life.  Most people foolishly believe they’re living the same as everyone else - and that is very rarely true.  We all tick along in a slightly different way. 
My life is richer for seeking out those stories.  I’ve filled my life with these characters that easily could have been just one more interview on some uneventful Tuesday - but instead I collect them like they’re Happy Meal toys. Social Media has taken on new importance in this quest for stories because now we are all writing out own - one status at a time, showing the world who we are (or want to be), and where we invest our thoughts. 
So, as I sit here on the edge of your bed I wonder about the incredible story you’ll tell with your life, my advice is to ignore the cliche that life is a book you write chapter by chapter.  Your life isn’t a book.  It’s a collection of essays and character sketches.  There will be moments - gaps, sometimes years - where you’ll feel like it’s all just been a monologue.  There will certainly be moments where you realize you’ve overwritten the plot or brought in some characters that added little to the story except  brief interludes of excitement and heartbreak. Life will be more chaotic than any book that’s ever been published and certainly lacks the clarity of a second-draft or the the skill of a good editor.
But wherever that chaos takes you as you live your live filled with stories worth being told, know that all of your stories are richer if you help others tell their stories too. 
At the highest and lowest points of my life I’ve turned to strangers to hear their stories, and in them find the words I needed to hear to move my own story along.   
When I lost my Dad, when I lost 200 pounds, when I struggled to live an honest life, when I was launching my own business, or moving in to morning radio, or even when I was publishing my own book - each of those experiences moved me to meet people with stories I could learn from, and hopefully my showing up in their life like that helped them in someway. 
I hope my life has showed you that it’s just as important to be a character in someone else’s story as it to be the author of your own.  You lose purpose when you’re only a character for someone else, and you lose perspective when you’re only the author of your own.  
So son, whatever you do, make sure a part of you is always a storyteller, because if you collect them like I have, you’ll never feel alone in this world.
Jay McNeil is the author of Fat Man Walking - Lessons in Loss, a book about his journey from 460-pounds.  You can hear him weekday mornings on The New Hot 92.3 in Fredericton, New Brunswick. 
Twitter: @jaymcneil

About me

Leadership isn't something bigger than us. Instead, it's a series of 'lollipop moments' - those moments that change lives when we're not even paying attention. Check the video below to hear the story of the first 'lollipop moment', and then please share yours by clicking here.