How a Simple ‘Thank You’ Changed the World: The 1-Week LYL Team Gratitude Challenge Begins Today!

Written by Scott November 19, 2012

Thank You

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”

- Melody Beattie

On The Power of Gratitude (and Team Work)…

This week I have a challenge for all of us.

I want to see how powerful our community at Live Your Legend can be when we work towards a common goal. That’s where The Gratitude Challenge comes in (more on that below). I can’t wait to see what we do with this!

Every day I try to spend at least a few minutes thinking through the people and things I’m thankful for. Some days I spend much more time, and others I forget to do it at all.

But this week is always different as I’m fortunate enough to be spending all of Thanksgiving week with my wife, parents and sister’s family in Hawaii. They are some of my best friends and getting the chance to spend so much focused time with them is something I cherish.

This week is the perfect anchor to remind us to slow down and show gratitude to the people and things we so often take for granted.

I don’t care who you are or what your life situation is, you always have something to be grateful for.

Lately I’ve felt the list could be endless. But to get started, I’m grateful for…

  • Family, friends and a wife I can call my best friends
  • People who support my dreams and inspire me to new levels
  • The Internet and the ability to connect with people all across the planet and help them in a way I’ve always dreamed of
  • To receive help and inspiration from them (all of you) in return
  • Fast, near instantaneous, Internet (the Internet at my hotel right now is painfully slow…)
  • Access to unlimited ideas, books, TED Talks and inspiration totally for free
  • The ability to have an idea, offer it to the world and turn it into a business – all from the small desk in my living room
  • A body that can take on most physical challenges put in front of it
  • The ability to travel to most anywhere in the world for the price of a few nice dinners out in San Francisco (if you do some bargain hunting)
  • Mentors and models who show me the impossible can become not only possible, but my new normal – if I’m willing to do good work and take my surroundings seriously.
  • Possibility. That today, more than any other time in the history of the world, almost anything you can imagine or dream up, is an actual possibility. A possibility that can become inevitable with the right people in your corner.

Gratitude Makes You Happier – There’s Proof

Showing gratitude is a lot more powerful than most realize. Saying thank you to others not only makes them feel amazing, but a regular practice of gratitude has been proven to significantly improve day-to-day happiness and fulfillment for the person dishing out the thanks. How win/win is that?!

A long-time reader of ours, Amit Amin, recently brought some of these powerful studies to my attention. You see Amit used to be the stereotypical money-hungry corporate consultant who took a job he thought he was ‘supposed’ to take. The only problem was he was angry and miserable.

Then after spending some time with our community, completing the Life Off Your Passion career course and doing a lot of deep self-work on his own, he woke up and did a full 180-degree career shift.

He now works full-time in positive psychology. Talk about a change!

A few months back Amit wrote one of the most comprehensive blog posts I’ve ever seen titled The 31 Benefits of Gratitude You Didn’t Know About: How Gratitude Can Change Your Life. The research and data he dug up will blow your mind. Thanks and congrats to you Amit – you make us proud!

Most days I write at least a few things down in a gratitude journal. There’s an excellent app by Carla White for the iPhone called Gratitude Journal that makes the practice a ton of fun. So worth the 99 cents!

But this week I want to take gratitude to a new level, and I’d like to ask you to do the same…

Introducing the 1-Week LYL Team  Gratitude Challenge:

Note: This is a challenge that all of our How to Connect With Anyone founding members are participating in this week as part of the course – after all, genuine thanks and appreciation is one of the all-time most powerful ways of building genuine connections. So I thought we’d kick this up a notch and get the whole Live Your Legend community involved in the challenge! 

One of the easiest and more heartfelt ways to say thanks is through a hand-written note.

To further the point, please watch this 4-minute TED talk on the power of hand-written notes, titled Love Letters to Strangers. A huge thanks to Connect with Anyone member Eugene Yiga who introduced me to this video in our member forums a couple weeks ago!

Can’t see the video? Click here

So that is this week’s challenge: I am charging all of us with the task of seeing how many hand-written notes we can write and send via snail mail in a week.

This is not a contest as much as it is some friendly competition to see how many people’s lives we can improve in a week with a simple letter.

This is a team effort and we are going for the highest number of total notes possible. 

Just think if each of us wrote 10 notes this week, that would be nearly 200,000 people who’d get a genuine thank you in the mail!

This could be as simple as writing just a couple sentences. All that matters is that you make the thank you unique to the person you are writing to – so only writing “Thank you for being you” doesn’t really cut it. That can be one of your sentences, but be sure to make it meaningful.

To give you an idea, here’s an example of a note I wrote last week:

Thank you for your support and encouragement as I’ve built my business over the past year. You probably don’t realize how powerful of an impact your mentorship has had. I truly don’t believe I’d be where I am if it was not for our friendship. Thanks for being who you are and making the impossible possible. -Scott

Send it on stationary or maybe even a postcard from wherever you are right now.

Send them to family, friends, ex-friends, mentors, enemies, celebrities, dream connections – anyone!

Since I’m in Hawaii this week, I’m going to send all of my notes via fun postcards from the island.

Note: The thank you is a lot more meaningful if you write it on real stationary and physically send it through the mail, but If for some reason you are not able to use the mail this week, then email will work as a distant substitute – but only if you must. The real point here is to break the pattern of electronic communication that so many of us have gotten used to (and numb to).

This challenge has two parts to it:

Part 1: List one person or thing in your life you are thankful for. Write it in the comments below.

Part 2: Set your goal of the minimum number of people you plan to send notes to (I hope you surpass it big time). Maybe start with a goal of 5 or 10 people. Write your goal in the comments below.

Then go out and start sending notes and making people’s day!

I will of course be participating alongside you all and my personal goal is to send at least 10 postcards throughout this week. I’ve already sent 3!

I cannot think of a better way to spend the holiday with you all. If I could send a personal thank you to every one of you, I would, but I think this is even more powerful :).

I cannot wait to see how many lives we can impact as a team.

Just think for a minute how much better off the world would be if nearly a quarter of a million people were surprised by a random thank you note this week. As a team we really do have more power than we realize.

It’s time to start using it for good.

Ok, now leave your goal in the comments and let’s start showing people what they mean to us!

And if you know someone who’s life would be better after reading this post and participating in the challenged, please email or Tweet it to that one person, using the links below.

Thanks for being who you all are.

-Scott

P.S. For bonus points, once you’ve sent your notes and completed the challenge, come back to this post and share how many people you ended up sending notes to, and what your experience was – how it made you feel and what you learned. Leave that as a reply to your first goal-setting comment below.

P.P.S. I just got word that my TEDx video on How to Find & Do Work You Love should finally be live sometime next week. Fingers crossed that I’ll be able to share it with you all soon!

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“It was 18 months ago when I came across Live Your Legend and it just completely blew my mind. I was living this life thinking I have to kind of just do this. Then it was like a kid on Christmas Day with my wife thinking ‘we don’t have to do this anymore.’ It was literally a life change. It opened so many doors. Thanks for everything you’re doing.”

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