In the September issue of Octane, EO interviewed David Wagner, an EO speaker and founder of The Daymaker Movement
It only takes a moment to make someone’s day—to become a “Daymaker”—and leave a lasting imprint on their life. David Wagner, a renowned author, entrepreneur and upcoming speaker at the EO Buenos Aires University—to be held 13-17 November—knows that more than anyone, having created the Daymaking movement, which inspires people to change lives through acts of kindness. In this interview, David explains how the Daymaker concept was founded and what it takes to create positive change.
You coined the phrase “Daymaker” in 1978 after a memorable customer service experience in your salon. What kind of impact did this experience have on you?
DW: I remember it like it was yesterday. I was working in my salon when a client came in and asked to have her hair styled. As I was giving her a shampoo, I asked about her evening plans. ‘I don’t have anything special going on,’ she told me. ‘I just want to look and feel good tonight.’ We talked for a half hour, laughing and joking the entire time. Before she left, she gave me a big hug. A few days later, I received a letter from her … a letter that changed my life. This client, whom I worked on several times in the past, admitted that she planned on committing suicide that night, and that she stopped by to have her hair styled for her funeral. The wonderful time we spent together gave her hope; she decided to check herself into a hospital and seek professional help. She thanked me for caring, even though I had no idea what she was going through. She wrote: ‘Thank you for being there without knowing that you were.’ That was the start of my Daymaking journey.
How did you use this experience to help jump-start the Daymaking movement you’ve been leading for more than 30 years?
DW: When I discovered how such a small moment in time made such a huge impact on someone’s life, I committed myself to making people’s days. I even put the “Daymaker” title on my businesscards to serve as a reminder! And yet, while I was glad to have made a mark in my client’s life, I felt an enormous sense of responsibility. What if I was upset, distracted or hurried when she came in to see me? I decided to take stock of myself as a person, and resolved to treat everyone I met going forward like I had treated that woman. I vowed to give care and attention to everyone I saw. I figured it would make their day a little better, and who knows, it might save a life!
That’s what the Daymaker movement is all about— creating magical moments every chance we get. And when you lead by example, you make an even bigger difference. For example, I have 400 employees who see an average of 10 people a day, so we directly affect 4,000 people every day through our company. If we can touch each customer just once, we can inspire them to go out and touch 10 more … that’s 40,000 people in a single day and 14.6 million in a year! This is the basis of the Daymaker movement. Over the years, I’ve been able to use my experiences to help others create similar moments of magic in the lives of people they meet. I’ll be talking more about this movement and how entrepreneurs can lead with kindness at the EO Buenos Aires University!
Looking back at everything, what kind of impact has Daymaking had on your personal and professional life?
DW: It’s made a huge difference in how I live my life and run my company. I still thank my client for the gift of that letter because it changed my life as much as my kindness changed hers. It’s a cycle. When you discover the difference you can make in other people’s lives by simply being kind, whether it’s by holding the door open for them or asking about their day, your whole approach to life shifts. When I made it a point to start treating everyone as if they needed kindness, my business, my relationships and my life got so much better. Suddenly, something I was good at became something I was called to do, and everything just seemed to open up in beautiful ways after that.
What tips can you offer our members to help them become Daymakers in business and beyond?
DW: It all starts with you. As entrepreneurs, we’re in a position to change lives through leadership, and that leadership is built on self-awareness and a certainty that everyone can make a mark if they simply choose to. We already have the tools we need to become Daymakers. At the end of the day, it comes down to a decision. When you adopt a mindset of ‘being’ a Daymaker, the ‘doing’ becomes natural. You’ll discover that the universe will provide an ample supply of opportunities … you just have to seize them. When you do that, you create hope, and that hope can change people’s days, weeks, months, years and lives! The simplest act of kindness can change the world. All it takes is a moment.
You can learn more about David by visiting Daymaker