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!


Leave a Reply

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

  1. Scott says:

    Alright guys let’s get this party started!

    My personal goal is to send at least 10 postcards from Hawaii throughout this week. I’ve already sent 3 and just bought 6 more!

    What’s your gratitude goal for the week??

  2. Amit Amin says:

    Thanks for the feature, Scott!

    What you’re doing here is absolutely amazing – the combined emotional impact of just a few hundred of these letters is like a massive, sustained, global puff of marijuana.

    You’ve inspired me once again. 10 is a good goal.
    And, on Thanksgiving day, I want to see if I can create the biggest list of gratitude in the world.

  3. Iris says:

    This is such a cool challenge.

    I’ve written love letters to my three best friends after high school and their response was crazy. I received letters back and it’s incredible how good those letters make you feel.

    I’m up for the challenge:

    I’m deeply grateful for my boyfriend Sven. He is the most incredible man I’ve ever met.

    I want to send out 10 thank you notes. Can’t wait to start!

  4. Fab says:

    Hi Scott,

    very meaningful post!! Congratulations!!

    You have all the reasons to be grateful and you deserve very much all the things for which now you’re really grateful!

    But in my opinion the point of the whole matter is another and I’ll ask you a question about it!

    QUESTION:

    were you deeply grateful like now when things didn’t go in the right way??

    In other words: is it far easier to be really grateful when your life is going very well than being really grateful when your life isn’t going according to your best efforts and plans or not?

    Is it the human nature?

    Probably!

    Here is an interesting link:

    http://darrenhardy.success.com/2010/11/to-be-great-be-grateful/

    All the best!

    Fab

  5. Fab says:

    Probably, you’ll know this one:

    When asked what the secret to wealth was, one of the most successful investors of all time, Sir John Templeton, replied with one word: “gratitude.”

    So in reality, you are grateful on purpose!! Because you want to become filthy rich!!

    Don’t worry! I’m just kidding!!!!

    Enjoy your vacation!

    Fab

  6. Fab says:

    Hi Scott,

    I beg your pardon!!

    I havent noticed that for you Americans it’s Thanksgiving time which is very important!!

    So, cross out my improper question and comments!

    All the very best for your Thanksgiving week!

    Fab, greetings from Italy.

  7. Jerri says:

    Hey Scott! :-)

    I take it you must have just posted your challenge, because I’m surprised I’m the first response here!

    I am grateful for my dear husband Gary. This year has been one of many challenges due to my diagnosis with early-stage cancer (in remission, thank God!) and having to go on medical leave to undergo treatment. Throughout that time, he has been my rock to lean on as well as my soft place to land when I needed to cry for a while. I know that a good part of my recovery going so well is because of his love & support for me. Now as I return to work, he’s my number one cheerleader, and having that support and God’s help makes it easier to believe that we will come through our financial struggles back on top soon.

    (It’s really meaningful since he is rehabbing from a below-the-knee amputation himself, but has never given up fighting to get back on his feet and walking again.)

    I’m going to shoot for sending out 10 notes this week, which will be a challenge since I’ll admit I’m very much an e-mail/Facebook writer that knows more e-mail addresses than physical addresses these days. :-( The video hit home for me, and I will make more of an effort to get better connected to folks in the “offline” world from this day forward. Thanks for sharing that with us, Scott! :-)

  8. Tarra says:

    Hey Scott,

    Awesome post and a great thought. Not only are you making such a difference to the world but also encouraging 1000s of others to do so…
    I have been reading your posts since you use to write summaries on books…and over the period have encouraged me to come out of my corporate job where I was Head-Business Development to now volunteering for kids who need guidance in selecting their passion, as well working on starting a blog of my own…Thank you for all the encouragement!!

    I’m up for the challenge…my plan is to send atleast 15 hand written notes and n number of emails that I can send.

  9. Michele says:

    I am going to write 10 thank you notes. I am thankful for so many people, but today I am especially thankful for my awesome husband who supports me in my adventures through life. He is wonderful and without his support I wouldn’t be able to do half of what I do.

  10. Cherilyn says:

    Exquisite timing as usual, Scott!

    I just sent out or hand delivered 19 cards to my sons’ teachers. I decided this year to really embrace the fact that the holiday season in the U.S. starts with gratitude and thanksgiving, so I gave their teachers gifts for the turkey holiday instead of the tinsel one.

    What I love in the power of a hand-written note is a moment when one person says to another, “I see you.”

    It matters.

    Thanks for the challenge, Scott!

  11. Joy says:

    What a beautiful challenge…thank you :)

    I am grateful for my children….it is a blessing to be their mother..and all of the inner work I have done to change my life from abuse and chaos to presence was initiated because I wanted to give my children different opportunities and choices that I had. That initial decision has transformed my life and expanded my world…my heart is full of gratitude.

    I will set a goal to write 8 hand-written notes. I have just painted inspirational notecards so I will use those.

  12. Dhaval says:

    Hey i too have decided to send 16 postcards to people I wanna thank this week.
    Thanks Scott.

  13. Connie says:

    Hi Scott,
    I have decided to send 18 cards this week to people I want to thank.
    Thanks for the idea and inspiration!

  14. Robert says:

    Gratitude… I am entirely grateful for sobriety and the resulting freedom that has ensued. I live in gratitude to those humans and that spiritual power that has given me this. I am a grateful alcoholic.

  15. Christel says:

    Hi Scott,

    I’m so glad I read this post. It’s so easy to forget about all the things that are good in your life and focus on what’s going wrong. Thanks for writing this, I needed reminding.

    I’m grateful for my friend Patrice, who has taught me how to truly be alive and who loved me when I couldn’t love myself.

    I’m going to send 14 cards.

  16. Andrea says:

    Thank you for the challenge, Scott. What a beautiful concept!

    I’m grateful for John, who has taught me what real love is. I’m delighted to be going to my father’s house for Thanksgiving and introducing John to my family.

    I’m going to do my best to send 14 cards. I’ll be traveling for four days, but I’m pretty sure I can find time for two cards a day.

  17. Ericka says:

    Thanks for the encouragement Scott,

    I already have a pack of thank you cards for situations just like this… but I only have a few left. So my first goal is to send those out.
    The tricky part is going to be getting people’s address’ without them knowing… to truly surprise them.

    My second goal is to write a thankful list.
    And I think Im going to make a new tradition and invite my family to join in on this challenge with me.

    I like the idea of creating a cork board that everyone can add to… It would be a great way for all of us to see what each other is thankful for and I think it will enlighten and encourage us all.

    Sounds Fun! :)

  18. Kate says:

    Love this. I am so grateful for my yoga teacher and studio owner, Dawnelle Arthur. She really believes in me and has given me as many opportunities as she can whenever she can. Life would be very different without her!

    I am heading to San Francisco tomorrow… going to be sending a minimum of 10 postcards to people I love!

  19. I am incredible grateful for my parents Bob and Kathryn, for my mentors Dr Thom and Leslie, for my friends Amber and Chip. My life has been transformed because of all of them.

    I am taking on writing 25 notes this week! Love this challenge – what if we impacted 1 million lives???

  20. Scott Dinsmore says:

    Wow- I LOVE the energy and enthusiasm here. A million cards would be epic Sarah!

    You guys have got me so fired up that I just cranked out another 8 from the beach over here in Maui. That puts me at 11 total- so I’ve already surpassed my goal!

    Plenty more to come :)

    Keep at it guys. We are all making a difference!

  21. Jacque says:

    Hi Scott,

    Love this challenge.

    I am grateful for:
    This inspiring blog
    My 3 incredible daughters
    My amazing talented husband who loves me just the way I am.
    My parents and their health
    My own health
    A job that pays well and includes a best friend
    LOVE
    3 incredible long-time friends whose friendship is invaluable.
    There are many more, but I won’t crowd the blog.

    I will send at least 10 cards.

  22. Akshay says:

    Awesome work Scott! Love it.

    I am most grateful for the opportunity and freedom to live a life on my terms and for the people who support me in doing so, including all of you on across the web.

    My goal is to write 50 notes by the end of the week! An attitude of gratitude will change the world!

  23. Erica Blazer says:

    Hello there!
    I am definitely up for this challenge!!! Its perfect timing for me…not only for the holiday but for this phase of my life.

    I am deeply grateful for my daughter. I see the future in her and it fuels my fire to do more in my life, for her life, and beyond. That gratitude is also tied to my grandmother Shirley, who I see in my daughter Sydney’s eyes frequently. It’s inspiring.

    My goal is to write 10 notes by the end of the week, if not more.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  24. Erin says:

    I’m a big fan of gratitude. I often speak it out loud, but these days “don’t find time” to put pen to paper.

    I’m going to commit to one letter this week (so it feels manageable). I ‘ll probably feel inspired to write more once I get in the mood :)

    PS I love Hannah’s TED talk. It was fun organising a letter writing party after seeing it!

  25. bree says:

    Hi Scott,

    First up, thank YOU for sharing all your energy and lessons with us. This lesson is just perfect timing because my meditation topic today is on gratitude:)

    Anyway, I am grateful for being alive, my family who would move heaven and earth for me and nature, in addition to a whole load more.

    My goal is to write my thank you letters to at least 10 people.

    This should be fun!

    :)

  26. Zizi says:

    Wow, this is such a great idea!

    I have sooo many people to be thankful for so this will be a perfect way to say thanks once more :)

    I’ll be back with more comments for sure :)

  27. Cheryl says:

    great idea, Scott. I hope to write one card to my husband.

  28. mark says:

    Hey Scott, Great post and a great blog, BTW :)

    i had just finished reading your post (i already do a gratitude journal) and i was thinking of a specific friend who i believe could really get some benefit from … gratitude, i was doing the washing up with my ipod on random as usual and as i was in that moment, a song came on called ” Be thankful for what you got ” by Massive Attack, had a little smile to myself. I have over 5000 songs on there, and to my knowledge,,, its the only one with such an appropriate ” thank you ” theme. Strange how coincidences like that happen, or is it just because we only notice when they do happen, and the other 1000′s of times pass without.. coincidence. Just thought id share that with your community
    Peace and happiness to you all
    M

  29. Tristan says:

    I’m grateful for the power of love which, almost unseen, makes itself seen through the changing of a human heart – from a numb and dejected father to a hope-filled and loving Dad; and from a wounded and broken bride to a restored and grace-filled wife.

    Thanks for encouraging us Scott. I want to finish off some thank you letters I planned to do months ago.

    T

  30. Deana Putnam says:

    Scott,
    I love this challenge and the opportunity that is gives to reach out to folks far and near and provide them with a thank you or just some encouraging words to let them know that they are being thought of. I really believe that no person should go without being appreciated and loved. Thanks for the little reminder that likely most of us don’t take the time do stop and do things like this enough.

    I will be sending out between 15-20 cards and am excited to do so! THANK YOU for continuing to inspire and motivate me to believe that this isn’t all there is for me. With hard work, dedication and determination, I will be able to achieve my dreams and ultimate happiness. You inspire me everyday!!

    Deana

  31. Thank you all for being up for participating! I hope you’re enjoying making people’s days around the world :).

    Yesterday I wrote another 8 cards – that puts me at 19 over all. More to come today!

    Here’s to appreciation!

  32. Nancy says:

    Inspiring! I have always been a big fan of the written note, but it has been some time since I have penned any. Thank you for the reminder.

    Today I am grateful for:
    A loving partner
    A talented son
    A rambunctious daughter
    A giving mother
    A life I am living on my own terms

    My goal is to write 15 cards although my intent is to go through all my contacts, e-mail, phone, facebook, the old hand-written address book and find a reason to thank that person for the role they play in my life.

  33. In this very moment I’m feeling grateful to Amy of http://www.youintheworld.com because I followed her tweet here.

    I’m a firm believer in sharing gratitude and appreciation, have been for years since first being introduced to the gratitude journal by Sarah Ban Breathnach and the gratitude letter/visit by Martin Seligman. In fact, I also believe in self-appreciation and celebration and have post in the works on this topic scheduled for friday!

    I am mailing 29 secret santa cds this week to women I adore. I’m glad I stumbled on your post Scott because now I plan to also include a very short note of love and appreciation in each package. Thanks for the reminder to share appreciation with those I love.

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    —————————————————————————————————–

    أب ترينرز .. أفضل من يقدم تطبيقات الأندرويد و يعلمها

    تصدر أندرويد لجميع نظم تشغيل الهواتف و الكمبيوترات الكفية
    لم يكن من قبيل الصدفة ، بل لمزايا لا توجد إلا عبره
    ، و من أهم تلك المزايا هي جوجل بلاي ، الذي
    يزوره يوميا ملايين المستخدمين ، حتى
    أن عدد مرات تحميل تطبيقات أندرويد عبره قد تجاوزت المليار مرة تحميل ، ما جعل
    المبرمجين حول العالم يتوجهون لتعلم كيف يمكن عمل تطبيقات عليه ؛ لتحقيق أرباح طائلة ، و في موقعنا ” اب ترينرز ” استطعنا عبر فريق عمل متكامل و متخصص أن نحقق نجاحات في هذا المجال لم يسبقنا إليها أحد من المواقع العربية ، فصممنا عدد من التطبيقات المجانية و المدفوعة ،
    و دربنا مئات من المبرمجين
    على كيفية بناء تطبيقات أندرويد وايفون ، و بالفعل استطاعوا
    اختراق سوق العمل ، أصبح لهم تطبيقاتهم الخاصة التي تجذب المئات من المشترين .

    من أبرز التطبيقات التي لاقت إعجاب المستخدمين برنامج “الحافظ الصغير” الذي يمكن عبره أن يتعلم الطفل كتاب الله بأسلوب سلسل
    و شيق للغاية ، و قد عرضناه مجانا لمستخدمي أندرويد وايفون، و تم تحميله عدد كبير من المرات
    مع تغذية عكسية ايجابية من الكثير من المستخدمين .

    تعليم الأطفال بأسلوب شيق كان أحد أهدفنا النبيلة ، و قد حققنا
    ذلك عبر تطبيقات تعليمية متعددة ، و من أهمهم تطبيقين أحدهم بالعربية و يسمى ” دفتري ” ، و الثاني ” كول بلاي سكول ” يمكن للطفل عبرهما أن يتعلم عدد من
    المهارات الأساسية بشكل مسلي ، مثل قراءة الحروف ، الأرقام ، مع لوحة مبتكرة للتلوين، و ذلك عبر الصوت و الصورة
    ، و الحركة لضمان أكبر قدر من تفاعل الطفل
    مع البرنامج .

    النجاحات التي حققناها عبر تطبيقاتنا كانت سببا في أننا
    أصبحنا محل ثقة الكثير من المتدربين الذين يودون بداية طريقهم في تنفيذ و تصميم تطبيقات الأندرويد ، و الأيفون
    ، و قد نلنا شرف تدريب الآلاف من
    الشباب ليقتحموا مجال تطبيقات الأندرويد و كذلك الأيفون هم يملكون كافة المهارات اللازمة لذلك .

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    ، و كذلك التدريب على مهارات تصميم التطبيقات الناجحة و المبتكرة على أندرويد
    ، وايفون ، عبر عدد من المختصين
    المحترفين ، الذين يقدمون للمتدرب خلاصة خبرتهم الطويلة ، و معلومات قيمة حول كل خطوة في تنفيذ التطبيقات ، ما يجعل المتدرب يحصل على مهارة ، و
    إمكانية تنفيذ أي تطبيق يفكر فيه.

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    تطبيقات أندرويد

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    تطبيقات تعليمية

    الأيفون

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