5 Ways to Wield Your Whimsy (Part 1)
Tonight a new friend named, M, said:
“Initially I thought you were a bit nutty with the whole “Unicorn Scouts and whimsy thing” — but now I’m totally a convert!”
Thank you, M! Thrilled to have a new Unicorn Scout.
And then she told me a story about a rainy day encounter with magic this week. “So I’m walking, and I spotted a woman with rainbow hair standing under a rainbow in the sky! And I totally wanted to go up to her and ask to take a picture of this amazing Double Rainbow! But I didn’t quite get there, because I’m not sure how to do that. I think I need more Unicorn Scouts guidance.”
Right! That’s a SUCCESS PROBLEM I am giddy to address. Because when you start embracing whimsy and believing in unicorns, you start seeing magic moments all over the place. Some of you are hopefully nodding your head, but others probably don’t believe me right now — don’t worry. You’ll get there soon.
But WHAT THE HECK do you DO with the magic you find? How can you wield your whimsy to connect and add more awesome into the world? When you see a Double Rainbow of amazing style + sky, how do you approach a stranger to get that picture?
In half a minute I’m going to heartstorm 5 ideas for you to try out and share some personal approaches to embracing magical moments. Some of them are areas I need to work on, myself. (Because I’m always upping my own whimsy game, too.)
But FIRST, I have to send you ALL a huge hug for reading this post; for wanting to shine your Unihorn and wield your whimsy in the world. It’s so damn exciting and amazing. I don’t have all the answers. Some or all of the advice I share next is not going to work for you.
But what if just one nugget drops into your soul and the ripples move you closer to joy? What if just thinking about my “wacky” ideas for whimsy helps jiggle free your own wiggling way of interacting with folks? What if we can turn OFF the voices of fear that stop us from saying howdy to a stranger, and turn ON the voices of freedom to be how we want to be and capture every double rainbow we see? What happens when we’re the change we want to see in the world? When we are UNICORNS?
I’m asking you these questions — but I know MY answer. It’s what drives me to create The Unicorn Scouts and wake up to put on some glitter and place a Unihorn on my head. It’s why I have a unihorn tattoo on my finger. Because if we can BE and THINK and LOVE and PLAY as Unicorns — — we are FREE to ACT and MAKE and CONNECT with the WORLD. On our own authentic terms.
But back to the newly converted M, and some concrete ideas about how she — and YOU — can wield some whimsy.
5 Ways of Whimsy
1. Lead with Your Horn. I don’t mean a sharp pointy bit you poke people with. That is a whole other conversation about consent! I mean leading with your own brand of whimsy and magic — — shine your gifts forward and they will light up the path ahead. It’s amazing how many people are drawn to shiny things (hello, glitter!). They might blink for a minute because you are SO bright, but then many/most folks get all warm and smiley. The few that don’t, I smile and shrug and hope they find a different light in their day. Then I carry on with my personal Unicorn style and see what magic finds me.
You will find your own Unicorn style as you go. It takes time. So start with the thing you are most passionate about — the magic of your unihorn. Share that with the world — it is a gift that wants to be received. Your genuine love for whatever you’re called to create will attract people. See what happens when they find you.
2. Genuine Exuberance is Glorious!!!!! I’m not cool. I’m not chill. I’m usually not calm, even when I’m “carrying on” — those posters honestly irritate me. Life is just too amazing for me to stay calm. (By the way, Stay Calm and Carry On was a mantra for surviving WWII. But Unicorns do more than survive — I want you to THRIVE.) So I need a letter with more “alphabet arms” than the “C” so I can wave them in the air. (Oh look, the letter E has 3!) So — I’m an excitable, enthusiastic, EXUBERANT Unicorn — named ElliottE. That’s so many arms waving — so here’s my Unicorn version of that WWII survival poster: “Stay EXCITED and Carry OUT!” That means share your excitement — let it shine out of you.
Approach someone with a genuine degree of exuberance (check your magic meter and respond as appropriate.) Here’s how I would gush at rainbow-haired gal:
“OH MY GOODNESS your Rainbow hair is rocking my WORLD right now!!!! I LOVE IT!!! (thank you :)) And the sky agrees! It decided to shine a rainbow right over you! It’s a magic DOUBLE RAINBOW of delight!!!! (looks up, wow!) I know I’m a total stranger approaching you with a whole heap of excitement, but I’m a Unicorn and when I see magic moments I just have to DELIGHT in them! (I flash my horn, she smiles) Would you be open to me taking a picture to remember this amazingness? I would be happy to take one for you too. And my crew of Unicorn Scouts would love to see it. Could I share it with them? Or totally ok if you don’t want me to — just have to ask. (wow. yes, yay!) Thank you!!!! I’d love to give you a Unicorn Scouts badge for bringing so much magic and whimsy today! (I hand out a sticker — squeee! What’s this Unicorn Scouts things?)”
See what happens there? Authenticity is so rare these days that open friendly interactions with strangers are Pure Magic. I have gone out into the world armed with my unihorn and badges and done this at least a hundred times in the past two months. They’ve all been various levels of fun, friendly interactions. I’ve learned to read people’s level of returned enthusiasm and disengage as needed.
That takes practice. But if you end up overdoing it on outgoing exuberance — so be it. Some might look at you like an alien … or a UNICORN. ;) But they’ll almost always just walk away when THEY are done (even if you aren’t.) No worries. You’ll have been genuinely glorious. (Important — do NOT touch people without consent and never try to stop them from leaving.)
3. When in Doubt — Just Dance. Or skip. Or wiggle. Or bounce. Why walk when you can do all sorts of amazing things with your body and still get wherever you need to go? If you’re driving, do some car dancing at the stoplights. If you’re riding the bus, boogie while you hold the bar — just respect other people’s personal space.
A week ago I was in Starbucks and the music was so good I just started grooving to it in line. I carried on while I waited for my chai. And I didn’t CARE what anyone thought. But the barista smiled and I caught the eye of a customer and we grinned. A couple days prior, I was walking on my daily podcast listening break (I’m enjoying Creative Pep Talk by Andy J. Pizza right now) and I saw a dapper old man dancing with his cane. Our eyes met and I stopped and did a shimmy back. We smiled, and then for a minute — right there on the sidewalk — we danced together to the beat of our own hearts. I SO wanted to hand Reggie a Unicorn Scouts badge (we shook hands and exchanged names) — but alas I had failed to have some in my pocket. I fixed that error right when I got home.
Have you seen this video from SoulPancake (I LOVE THIS CREW!) of people dancing as they cross the street? Why not do this the next time you hit an intersection? Because you CAN! It won’t take you any more time — it just takes a little bit more courage and “who cares!” whimsy. Note to self — I need to do this way more!
4. Make Eye Contact. Do you really SEE people? Whomever it is you’re talking to or looking at or interacting with — let your eyes meet. Hold that connection. We call it eye CONTACT for a reason. Scientific research says prolonged eye contact deepens intimacy (about 4 minutes, but start with 5–10 seconds!) It’s probably going to feel a bit awkward and uncomfortable at first. You might not always do it, but it’s so powerful (this is a reminder that I need to do this more).
One of my favorite times to make eye contact is with service people — the barista or server. The grocery/store clerk at check out. The toll-plaza person. The janitor. I also do it with homeless people at intersections as I’m handing them granola bars (and soon bottles of water because they’re thirsty!). When people spend so much time being unseen, it hurts their hearts.
Put down your cell phone and look someone in the eye and smile! If they’re wearing a name tag, use it to say “Hi Mike! How are you doing today?” Really mean it — and want to know the answer. This may not sound very whimsical — but it is MAGICAL. Here’s a recent example:
On Valentine’s Day I was co-working with one of the earliest Unicorn Scouts — Sooz — and we went to lunch. At the diner, Debbie came over to greet us. A larger woman in her 50s/60s, she looked a bit disheveled and was rocking some killer red lipstick. I looked her in the eye and smiled and said: “Hi Debbie! You are killing it with that awesome red lipstick! Happy Valentine’s Day!” She looked right back and thanked me. Then I asked her how her day was going, and she said OK.
But I didn’t quite believe her, and so I asked: “You seem like it’s been a bit rough today. Am I wrong? How are you REALLY?” And Debbie revealed that a homeless person had come in and stolen $40 off one of her tables. She had run out after him, and had gotten $20 back but he had raced off before she or the cops could get the rest. I was stunned. And she told us she was feeling so bad about not getting the other $20. As we ate, her manager seemed to be giving her crap about it. This seriously pissed me off.
When she came back, I told her: “Debbie, WOW! You care so much about this place and doing a good job that you chased after a thief to try and get this restaurant’s money back. That is DANGEROUS. He could have been armed or something. You could have been hurt, and you need to be careful. We need you to be SAFE. It’s amazing that you got $20 back — and this restaurant should be thanking you for going WAY above what you needed to do!”
She got teary eyed — I saw because I was looking her in the eyes. Then her shoulders straightened and she told me I was right. It was like a revelation and transformation. At least for a minute — I hope for longer.
I gave her a Unicorn Scouts badge for being awesome. And Sooz gave her a super generous tip. Because we had SEEN this woman, and heard her, and she is a Unicorn! As we left, I offered her a hug. She happily accepted, and as we squeezed I told her: “Take NO SHIT, Debbie. Take. No. Shit!” It inspired me to draw a poster. Then writing this blog post inspired me to make 5 more! My black marker is almost out! I just ordered more!
5. Answer to Unicorn. In fact, give that name whenever you can. When you’re writing a name tag at some social mixer, add Unicorn as your surname. When you add your name to the restaurant wait list — just make it Unicorn. When the barista asks for a name, tell them Unicorn. It’s AMAZING how great it feels for you — and for others — when someone calls across a crowded restaurant, “Unicorns, party of 4.” Or “Unicorn soy chai latte.” Or “Hi Elliotte Unicorn. That’s an interesting name you have.” Give it a try. And post a picture of it on the Unicorn Scouts Facebook page. Tag us on Instagram. I want to SEE your Unicorn name out in the world!
These are just 5 ways, from a whole sea of whimsical magical behaviors. Try them on. See if they fit your Unicorn style, or if you need some other options. I’m already feeling like this is going to be an ongoing topic for my writing and my markers— after all, practicing whimsy is the way we get into the habit of joy. I can’t WAIT to send you Whimsy in the Mail!
Hey You! I am raising $10,000 via Kickstarter to launch The Unicorn Scouts. Our awesome “Full Rainbow” welcome kit is just $50 — and the “Double Rainbow” for two unicorns is $95. Lots of other levels, too. Sign up on our site to find out when we go live with the campaign in early March! Right now I’m preparing all the things.
About The Author
Elliotte, leader of The Unicorn Scouts, has been practicing daily whimsy for years. Her whimsy way has transformed her life, her relationships, her parenting — and every day a little more of the world gets a little more rainbow. Her daughter, Liliana (7), co-leads The Unicorn Scouts. The Unicorn Scouts, a whimsy troop for all ages + all spectrums of unicorns, are on a mission to bring more joy into the world — and whimsy is the way! To find out more or become a Unicorn Scout: www.unicornscouts.com