Inspired by You! Random Acts of Kindness with Leigh McManus

2015 is going to be an amazing year! I can just feel it! It will be a year of change, a year of growth, and a year of love

Although, I am hundreds of miles away from my friends, family, and the creative community, that I was quickly falling in love with on the east coast, I did not want distance to hinder the connection I've made with people who have inspired me.

Inspirational Quote- Surround yourself with people who will lift you higher

I follow a man on Facebook who posts a weekly unsung hero who he admired throughout history. He posts a picture and a brief history about how they made a positive impact in the world... what a wonderful idea!

I wanted to take his idea and put a twist to it. 

Every week of 2015 I want to reach out to someone who truly inspires me and sing their praises to the world! It is very seldom that we call someone to tell them how awesome they are and what impact they made on our lives. It is time to change that.

Throughout my 25 years of life, I've met some phenomenal individuals. Some are brilliantly creative and some have hearts as big as the world. Instead of admiring them from a distance, I thought it would be a great opportunity to reconnect and feature them on the blog. So, every week of of 2015, I am going to share with you some of the most talented, inspiring individuals I know. It is time to surround yourself with people who lift you higher, make you want to go the extra mile, and be a blessing unto others.

Inspired by You Blog Series | JoAnna Dee Weddings

Welcome to the very first installment of my "Inspired by YOU" blog series! When I came up with the idea for this series, I immediately thought of one person to feature in the first edition. Hopefully, she will help kick off your 2015 with an extra dose of inspiration. Meet Leigh McMannus! She is a burst of sunshine who has a heart as big as the world. She is going places my friends.... g-o-i-n-g places. (You can say that I introduced her to you first.) She is a bride to be too! :)

Random Acts of Kindness Leigh McManus

In 2012, Leigh decided to take on a new mission. Every day from Thanksgiving to Christmas, she performs a "Random Act of Kindness." Each day it is something different; sometimes it is a monetary donation, while in many other instances she is donating her time and effort to improve others' lives. I am SO inspired by Leigh. Her creativity on these random acts is just awesome. Read her interview below to hear about some specific examples of how she is making the world a better place, and how she benefits from helping others. 

Random Acts of Kindness has a rippling effect and inspires others to foster an environment of caring. Leigh's Random Acts are cleverly coordinated at a time of the year when we naturally reflect on the footprints we are leaving in the world. Whose heart have we touched lately? Is the world a better place because of us? Are we giving back or being selfish? The world is definitely a brighter place since Leigh has sprinkled her acts of kindness around her community. 

Leigh was extremely open in my chat with her. I caughter her at the perfect time, on her ride back home for the holidays. Here was our conversation:

Leigh McManus | Random Acts of Kiness

JoAnna: "Leigh, what inspired you to start Random Acts of Kindness?":

Leigh: A few years back, in 2012, I wanted to do something to change my perspective in life. I had realized my priorities were out of whack, and I was a little too focused inward. I wanted to do something to change my perspective and give back instead of being self-involved. I needed to do something for my fellow man, unrelated to me. That's when I decided to do Random Acts of Kindness. 

I decided I would make it my holiday campaign and do it during Thanksgiving-Christmas. I would share the Random Acts of Kindness on social media to remind people that maybe we could spend less time inward and do more outward giving. 

 

JoAnna: "I've followed all of your Random Acts on FB and just love how creative you are! How do you come up with your inspiration?"

Leigh: I get my inspiration from a variety of sources. I check hashtags on Instagram! The  #RandomActsofKindness hashtag is so uplifting. Sometimes I plan the act in advance.. such as visiting a nursing home. Other times they just pop up and are the right opportunity. Last week I was in a rough area of town and I bought a gift card and put it in a mail box. 

*Fun Fact- Between November-December, Leigh makes the conscious choice to not go out to lunch to save up for some of her random acts. That saves at least $10 a day.

 

JoAnna: "What was your favorite Random Act of Kindness?":

Leigh: My favorite Random Act of Kindness is visiting a nursing home and asking the staff if there is a resident that doesn't get any visitors. It is free and I've met such interesting people through my visits. I've sat with some women who had fabulously interesting lives! They are so grateful to spend time with someone new... they have changed me. They made me more interested in life. 

If you have half an hour to spend, spend it with someone lovely. I met a lady who had Alzheimer's and decided to bring her flowers to leave something lasting from our conversations. I'll also hang out in the group room and just sit and chat. They just love visitors!

Another favorite that I like to bring back every year is to leave a bucket of tennis balls once a year at the dog park. I love to try new acts that are different to mix things up too.

"Random Acts of Kindness - Meet my new friend Jodi. I came to the nursing home with flowers and asked to sit and visit with someone who doesn't get many people coming to see them. Jodi was thrilled to sit with me and tell me all about her amazing life. What a joy  Merry Christmas Jodi! You are loved." ~Leigh

"Random Acts of Kindness - Meet my new friend Jodi. I came to the nursing home with flowers and asked to sit and visit with someone who doesn't get many people coming to see them. Jodi was thrilled to sit with me and tell me all about her amazing life. What a joy  Merry Christmas Jodi! You are loved." ~Leigh

 

JoAnna: "I know you are engaged to the love of your life! What are you most looking forward to at your wedding?"

Leigh McManus- Random Acts of Kindness

Leigh: "We are doing two smaller events. We will have a wedding in Florida and a reception on the North Shore of Long Island, NY. I'm most looking forward to having my friends and family down to visit. A lot of people haven't seen where we are living so it will be a "destination" wedding for them... and it will be part of a destination for us when we go to NY! I'll be happy to have everyone down in our neck of the woods."

 

JoAnna: "How did he propose?"

Leigh: James and I have been together for 6 years. I knew it would happen eventually, but I just didn't know when. He orchestrated it when my parents were in town. We went out to eat that evening. He knows I love sunset dinners. After dinner, my mom and I walked down to the water to look at the sunset and all of a sudden he got down on one knee in front of my family. I was so spurpised that it happened that night. 

JoAnna: "What is your life goal?"

Leigh McManus- Random Acts of Kindness

Leigh: One of my life goals is to be a motivational speaker. I remember this particular speaker I heard in Las Vegas and he said that in order to become a motivational speaker you first need to have a really compelling story. At the time I didn't have a good story to tell. I thought, I'm not that interesting. That was about 10 years ago. Now my new story is becoming very interesting ever since I started the Random Acts of Kindness. It already has started evolving through businesses reaching out wanting to contribute. Maybe I can start something bigger and make a bigger impact. 

JoAnna: "You are such a positive person. What is your secret to a happy life/lifestyle?

Leigh McManus- Random Acts of Kindness

Leigh: I think a lot about this. The most important thing is being a positive person. I found that happiness is an exercise and you have to work at it. The best way to be happy is to give it away. Give away your joy. When life gives you tough situations, you have to decide how you are going to react to them. I decide I'm going to be a positive person and focus on what is good in the world. God knows there is enough bad. Refuse to be negative.. there is too much attention given to darkness. Change your frame of mind.

 

 

Leigh has shown me how little things can truly turn someone's day around. I hope this little blog post inspires you to get out there and do something special for someone else. :)

 

Scroll through to see some of her creative Random Acts of Kindness throughout the years!

"Tape dollar bills to the vending machine at the car dealership with a note that says: Random Acts of Kindness - Please just take $1 - Sharing is Caring" ~Leigh

Random Acts of Kindess

Random Acts of Kindness: "Bought a bag of groceries for a local family in need." ~Leigh

Random Acts of Kindess

Random Acts of Kindness: "I received the name and address for a soldier in Kuwait from a friend of mine. Today, I assembled a box of surprises and delights to mail to her overseas. Thank you for your service Sergeant First Class Sarah Stone!" ~Leigh

Random Acts of Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness: "Delivered a big bin of candy to the nurses in the Emergency and Trauma department." ~Leigh

Random Acts of Kindess

Random Acts of Kindness: "Sent two large pizzas over to the local fire department." ~Leigh

Random Acts of Kindess

Random Acts of Kindness: "Brought flowers and a Get Well card to the ICU unit at the hospital and asked the nurses to give them to a patient who has very few visitors and could use a little cheering up." ~Leigh

Random Acts of Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness: "Handed PowerBall Tickets out to five strangers." ~Leigh"

Random Acts of Kindess

Random Acts of Kindness: "Delivered coloring books and crayons to the Children's Hospital." ~Leigh

Random Acts of Kindess

Random Acts of Kindness: "Left flowers on a stranger's doorstep." ~Leigh

Random Acts of Kindess

Random Acts of Kindness: "Delivering Thanksgiving dinners to local families in need." ~Leigh

Random Acts of Kindess

Random Acts of Kindness: "Delivered a dozen donuts to the postal employees working Christmas Eve. They truly are our national elves who deliver the holidays to us." ~Leigh

Random Acts of Kindess

Random Acts of Kindness: "Just gave the woman behind me at checkout a gift card. She was buying her Christmas dinner." ~Leigh

Random Acts of Kindess

Random Acts of Kindness: "Left a little surprise and delight for our Mailman. A grocery store gift card. Hope he gets himself some wine, beer or some general food cheer. He's someone quietly appreciated all year." ~Leigh

Random Acts of Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness: "Delivered cupcakes with a message of Thanks to the local Emergency Room Nurses." ~Leigh

Random Acts of Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness: "Bought a Poinsettia for the Salvation Army's Volunteer Bell Ringer and thanked her for her kindness." ~Leigh

Random Acts of Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness: "Ever find money on the ground? Always makes your day! So today, I dropped $5 on the ground on purpose. Next time you find money - maybe someone left it for YOU!" ~Leigh

Random Acts of Kindness: "On my lunch break I went to the local Dollar Tree and taped dollar bills to the back of toys. Surprise and delight Kids - this toy is on me!" ~Leigh

Random Acts of Kindness
Random Acts of Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness: "Cleaned up litter on the beach." ~Leigh

Random Acts of Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness: "Gave a rose to a stranger - an elderly woman sitting by herself." ~Leigh

Random Acts of Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness: "Delivered crayons, coloring books and friendship bracelets to the Children's Hospital." ~Leigh

Random Acts of Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness: "Left the waitress some winning scratch offs along with her tip." ~Leigh

Random Acts of Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness: "On my lunch break I went to the local Dollar Tree and taped dollar bills to the back of toys. Surprise and delight Kids - this toy is on me!" ~Leigh

Random Acts of Kindess
Random Acts of Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness: "Created handmade get well cards and delivered them to local patients." ~Leigh

Random Acts of Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness: "My Mom and I are delivering flowers to a stranger in the hospital who hasn't had any visitors." ~Leigh

Random Acts of Kindness
28 Random Acts of Kindness