Silent gratitude isn’t very much use to anyone.
About a year ago I read The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. One of the many life success strategies Hardy described was a gratitude journal (of daily entries) he had written for his wife. At the end of the year, he presented her with this heart-felt expression of love and appreciation.
That gave me an idea. But instead of one journal of 365 entries for one person, I decided to handwrite a Thank You note of gratitude each day to a different person—and then mail it or hand deliver it to him/her. 2012 would be The Year of Gratitude.
I committed myself to writing at least 366 notes in 2012. As I write this blog post I have not missed a day. By December 31, 2012 I will have addressed and delivered notes to nearly 400 people (a few days saw more than one person get a note; a couple notes went to entire teams like the custodians on my campus).
By the end of the year, I will have written notes to folks like long-time friends, neighbors, musicians, national celebrities, colleagues, wait staff and service personnel in restaurants and hotels down the street and around the nation, former students, military, journalists, policemen, city leaders, secretaries, cashiers, doctors, family members, a broker , the ladies in the deli department at the grocery store, campus security officers, fellow “gym rats,” lawyers, an insurance agent, and a bagger at the grocery store . In each note, I taped the following:
Silent gratitude isn’t very much use to anyone.
One of my goals for 2012 focuses on the good—the great—people that make up my life. I have made a commitment to reach out and say “THANK YOU” to people like you who have “done good” for the world around us. I have promised myself to send at least one “THANK YOU” card per day for the entire year of 2012. That will be 366 notes of gratitude! (It’s a leap year. J) You will find a more personal hand-written expression in the card that comes with this note. Know that you are appreciated and loved—and that you have made this world a much better place. “THANK YOU!” -Steve Piscitelli
I then wrote a few personal reflections as to specific traits that the person had—and how that person made a difference in our world.
This was how I finished most of my days. Before turning out the light I pulled out a card and spent 3 or 4 minutes writing the note for the next day.
I tell you this not to pat myself on the back but, rather, to share my gratitude for being able to do this. Here are the lessons from this exercise:
- It proved to be a very positive way to end each day. For the few minutes I wrote the note, no matter how ugly the day may have been (in my perception) I found it very difficult to be upset or angry as I wrote a note of appreciation to someone.
- People really do appreciate being appreciated! I received many, many, many notes of gratitude for my notes of gratitude. (Please note, that was never my intent. I believe it was Leo Buscaglia who said something to the effect of “If you give a gift expecting something in return, then it was never a gift. It was merely a loan.”) The return gratitude notes, however, made me feel good.
- There were people I missed (I am sure). That is not a reflection on them—just on me for missing them. This is another reminder that in reality I have much to be grateful for in my life. The exercise reminded me of so many good people around me.
- Probably the most gratifying part of this process was hearing people tell me that my note spurred them to adopt a similar goal in their lives. It felt like a pay-it-forward movement was developing.
I know it probably sounds “so very 1960s” of me but wouldn’t it be a much better world if we could reach out more—without manipulation, without exploitation, without an expectation for personal gain—to people around us.
Video recommendation for the week:
Reach out instead of lash out. The following clip speaks of small expressions of gratitude creating a movement.
I am grateful that you take time to read my blog, share it, and perhaps even act on the messages.
Next week I will post my annual “A Blogger’s Retrospective” in which I will provide a quick summary of and link to each of my 2012 blog posts.
I appreciate you.
Enjoy your week—and H.T.R.B.as needed!
Details for my 2013 webinar series will be announced in the very near future. The theme for the coming year is THE YEAR OF THE DREAM! Check my website for the most up-to-date information. Thank you for your support. If you would like to view a quick video of about THE YEAR OF THE DREAM, click here.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. Please pass it (and any of the archived posts on this site) along to friends and colleagues. You can also follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. If you get a chance, visit my Facebook page and join in–or start–a conversation (www.facebook.com/stevepiscitelli). Also, if you have suggestions for future posts, leave a comment. Have a wonderful week!
©2012. Steve Piscitelli.