When asked about the challenging part of running a wellness site, blogger Margo Chabot draws a blank. That’s because the positive With Goodness founder does not flag difficult occurrences with her initiative as challenges, rather as learning experiences. Four years ago, Margo started an Instagram account in college as a way to document the goodness around her—uplifting words, beautiful objects, inspiring images on everything from garbage cans to traffic light poles. It wasn’t long before she began seeing that same goodness in herself, situations and conversations around her.
“I really wanted to create something that would invite others to do the same and give them the opportunity to think about the goodness in their lives and focus on it,” Margo says. “Once you start to focus on it in one place, you begin to see it in all places.” Thus came Project Goodness, a community dedicated to noticing and adding to the benevolence that surrounds us.
She’s equipped every day with her phone (currently storing 15,000 pictures, 90% goodness-related), a Moleskine notebook to keep track of inspirations and positive feedback and a stack of her signature stickers that she hands out to friends and strangers on the street. On the front, the phrase, “I’m with Goodness” is printed with an arrow—an invitation to start thinking about where you can point it—on the back, she likes to handwrite, “If this finds you, it’s for you.”
Margo, who is also a registered health coach, a yoga teacher to pre-schoolers and special-needs children, and an artist, thinks the world is full of little surprises. “If we were to look at life as a quilt, we must think about goodness as the thread that holds it together,” she says. “Sometimes it’s hard to see and other times it’s very clear, but the work is to follow that thread and look for it.”
She shares her thoughts on living with purpose, passion—and goodness—below.
When I started this project, I had no illustrator or graphic design skills. I wanted to make a website and stickers but I felt so far away. I just said, “It’s more important for me to have it exist than have it be this amazing thing that would take a year of work and require me to hire professionals.” My biggest learning is that sometimes the easiest way is the best way.
Have a “priority check”
We’re all constantly asked to juggle things so it’s important to check back with ourselves and think, “How did today go? Am I getting my priorities done? Am I doing things that I care about?” Try not to get lost in the balancing act and ask yourself if what you’re doing is meaningful and important.
Your brain knows what it needs to see
When we look for goodness, it looks out for us. The things we notice are the things we need to see. One time, I was sitting in a coffee shop and writing in my notebook. A delivery man dropped off a few boxes and when I looked up, I saw three were stacked and each had been printed with the message, “You got this!” At that time, I was doubting myself. I feel that what stands out to me is what I need at that moment and ends up being a lesson.
Pursue an idea people can connect with
One of my college professors once told me that my project is something that speaks to everybody. It’s something that when people come across the idea, they’re drawn to it.
Find your niche
Like a soup, I mixed all different fields together. I studied positive psychology in school and then pursued integrative nutrition and yoga training. Everything together continued to give me opportunities to learn more about health and wellness and I think I’ve found where I fit in with that. I was always interested in the preventative side of health.
Let feedback motivate you
I am very much motivated by the responses, the inspiration and feedback that I get. It’s a cycle of goodness. It’s a give and take. We need each other and we need to be there for each other.
Put in the effort; the rest will follow
I woke up really early one day, was rushing to work and it wasn’t the smoothest morning. As I went to throw out my to-go cup of oatmeal, there was a cup in the garbage that said, “Make it a great day.” It really spoke to me. Sometimes we feel like circumstances are just circumstances and they’re holding us back. So instead, start everyday with “How can I make it a great day? What can I do from where I sit?”
Image courtesy of Ivanka Trump
Illustration by Jonny Ruzzo