Megan Snedden began her career as a journalist in New York City. She is currently a creator, writing and shooting photos and videos for brands, as well as building the Kind Effect – an acts of kindness movement and video series. Realizing the need for perpetuating hope in humanity, she shares content meant to inspire and additionally partners with brands such as Chevrolet, Amazing Thailand, Kind Traveler, Alaska Airlines and the Greatness Foundation to spread hope and kindness in the world.

Tell us about your background and how you got to where you are now.

Creating the Kind Effect – an acts of kindness movement and video series – was actually a bit of an accident. I’ve always worked in content creation, which began in my early days as a journalist in New York City, and has continued today writing and shooting photos and videos for brands.

I started doing acts of kindness for fun, then decided to start filming them to give people positive content to smile about (since there’s lots of bad news out there). When some of those videos went viral, it indicated to me that this was something people really needed, so I kept going. As a nomad, I’ve found ways to continue documenting acts of good in many of the countries I visit and at home in California.

What made you want to pursue your profession/area of focus?

Kindness is something I have learned to choose again and again. Each of us has the innate capacity to do good in the world, but it’s not always easy, especially in the face of adversity. As I’ve focused more on what kindness is in my own life, the more I have come to experience its many gifts. It just so happens that at some point it made sense to give my movement a name and start sharing the experience of kindness with others. I suppose I hoped it would inspire others to be kind.

What gets you excited to wake up every day?

The prospect of fresh-brewed coffee.

What’s the best/most important thing you’ve learned or taught yourself? Why?

The experience of creating the Kind Effect has taught me the value of patience as a creator. There are a lot of public figures out there encouraging people to live their dreams and build a business they love, but that definitely takes time. You might have a big vision, but you can’t skip all the steps it takes to get there.

The first video I made for the Kind Effect was filmed locally in California on an iPhone with no fancy microphone or cameras, and I used my pretty-bad video editing skills to stitch it together.

Fast-forward a few years later, and I finally achieved my dream: filming acts of good in an international location (in this case, Myanmar), with better cameras, in collaboration with a talented friend. It’s been comforting to hear from other entrepreneurs that it definitely takes a while to build traction, so you have to be willing to sit in the fire with your mission for a while and keep taking consistent action over time even if some days you want to give up.

“The experience of creating the Kind Effect has taught me the value of patience as a creator. There are a lot of public figures out there encouraging people to live their dreams and build a business they love, but that definitely takes time.
You might have a big vision, but you can’t skip all the steps it takes to get there.”

What’s the next thing you’re going to learn or teach yourself? Why?

Getting and staying more in tune with my inner voice. I used to have really strong intuition, but lately, the signal has felt weakened because there’s so much going on in the world right now. I’m naturally very empathic, so it can be hard for me to stay focused when I feel as much as I do. This has inspired me to turn to small, yet impactful, mental health activities like going for ten-minute jogs, meditating, EFT tapping, meeting with my therapist, a practice I recently learned called savoring, and shutting off electronics to read for an hour before bedtime.  

Describe a time when you had to ‘throw yourself in the deep end’ and figure it out.

You mean like every day? Throwing myself into the deep end and figuring it out is kind of a lifestyle for me. I love the thrill and challenge of the unknown, and I thrive off that feeling of excitement. If we aren’t constantly putting ourselves in uncomfortable scenarios, then we aren’t growing as much as we could. 

Do you have advice for finding a strong mentor/ building a relationship with one?

Honestly, I think going to therapy is the best gift you could ever give yourself. Finding the right therapist for you can be a bit of a process; I think it’s good to try out a few different ones before settling in (kind of like dating). Ultimately a great therapist will help you work through your inner world, which is challenging and incredibly rewarding. The best mental health professionals I have worked with didn’t just listen, they gave me valuable feedback, exercises, and the support to grow in ways I didn’t even know I needed. Plus, these days you don’t even have to go to a therapist’s office, you can do appointments from home. 

Favorite online learning platforms or resources for ongoing learning?

I’ve been loving SkillShare. It’s a learning treasure trove full of resources on just about every topic you can think of. I also have been loving these free Ivy League Online Courses. 

What’s your favorite spot where you currently live & why?

Recently, I’ve been spending time exploring places around Southern California. Even though the wineries in Temecula haven’t been open, I’ve loved having picnics with vine views. I also love surfing the waves in North County San Diego.

“I think going to therapy is the best gift you could ever give yourself. Finding the right therapist for you can be a bit of a process; I think it’s good to try out a few different ones before settling in (kind of like dating).
Ultimately a great therapist will help you work through your inner world, which is challenging and incredibly rewarding.”

What’s your favorite travel memory? Why does it stand out?

When I was in Verona, Italy — home of Romeo and Juliet – I volunteered to write love letters through an organization called the Juliet Club. I made this video through the Kind Effect to document the experience because it was really emotional and a lot more special than I could have ever imagined.

Out of all the places you’ve been, which has been your favorite and why?

I love so many places! Although it’s hard for me to pick just one place, my favorite thing about travel overall is that you can go to the same country at different times of your life and experience it in a completely different way.

For example, I lived in Argentina after college then returned to attend a friend’s wedding a few years ago. I also studied abroad in college in Madrid, Spain then lived in the Spanish Basque Country up north to teach English just last year. No matter where you go, I think the idea is to allow yourself to be changed by the place and to allow the experience to carry you. 

Where have you traveled you feel you learned the most, why?

Hands down, India. It’s the single most challenging place I have ever been for so many reasons and I can’t even really find the right words to describe why. It taught me that life can be so different from anything you’ve ever known and that there are so many ways to live. If you ever feel jailed by your own perspective, go to India. It will open your eyes to other possibilities.

Where is the next place you want to travel (when we can) and why?

I’m actually not sure. For the foreseeable future, I feel better rolling with times, staying home, and getting caught up on editing travel videos I shot the last couple of years. I’d like to look back on this time and feel proud of myself for knocking out deadlines and spending quality time with family.

What’s one thing people may not know about you?

I love Latin culture. I speak Spanish fluently, dance salsa, listen to Reggaeton, and have lived in a few different Spanish-speaking countries like Peru, Argentina, and Spain. 

“Although it’s hard for me to pick just one place, my favorite thing about travel overall is that you can go to the same country at different times of your life and experience it in a completely different way.”

Learn More about Megan Snedden

I recently wrote a new free guide called the Change Maker’s Action Plan for people who want to make a difference! Here is the link: www.thekindeffect.com/change-maker. Additionally, you can sign up for a 3-day kindness challenge here!