The other day, something nice happened to me. Someone I’m collaborating with sent me his part of the work, and it was really, really well done. A few minutes later, still riding high, I was walking down the street and found myself smiling at perfect strangers.

Have you ever noticed that when you’re feeling good, you can’t help but spread it? Do you have those days or moments where you feel almost like you’re glowing with confidence and goodwill?

Those are the moments when we do our best work, aren’t they? The moments when we’re at our most generous, insightful, resilient, good. When I have them, I feel like I can do anything, and do it with grace and joy.

This is the place where giving and other types of do-gooding should, I think, come from. This is the alternative to trying to do good from a place of guilt, shame, or obligation.

Not that there isn’t any hard work involved in doing good. Not that we never make mistakes, feel badly, or face tough decisions. But the ultimate source of our efforts should be that glowing place within where we know that we have goodness to spread.

That’s where the energy comes from to weather the tough times, to get through the hard work. That’s how we can approach mistakes and challenges with resiliency and grace. The alternative of beating ourselves up, soldiering on, and feeling perpetually inadequate will burn us out sooner or later.

Sometimes, I go a while without connecting with that wonderful place within. But when things are really going right, I’m reminded of the strength that lies there. And I remember that my first task is to pursue it, because it will fuel everything else I hope to accomplish.