Introduction from Alana:
With gratitude to my friend, George Weyrauch, who made the introduction, I recently got to know the super-cool Aaron Henderson. A low-key project management consultant, Aaron is chock full of great, entrepreneurial ideas. For our purposes, I twisted Aaron’s arm into telling the story of one idea he not only thought of, but seized with passion and authority – The Thank You Initiative.
In his own words, here’s a glimpse of Aaron’s idea. My hope is that we will each take up the pen and join Aaron in his mission to share appreciation.
Guest post from Aaron Henderson:
The Thank You Initiative started with a simple idea… To send one Thank You note… every day… for a year.
In an age where communication has been reduced to the click of a button in 140 characters or less, the art of the handwritten note has been lost. Our culture now views letters and cards as time consuming and unnecessary, and the personal touch of saying “Thank You” has been reduced to a simple line at the end of our emails.
I’ve always been amazed at the impact of a handwritten Thank You note. Whether it’s from a friend or family member, a coworker, or a business contact, receiving a Thank You card has always made a statement with me. These notes told me that people cared. It told me that my efforts mattered to them. The fact that they took the time to send me a personal message made a much bigger impression than a simple text message or an email. From these notes relationships grew. Any tension or disagreements suddenly seemed meaningless and unimportant.
For all of these reasons, I decided to start writing my own Thank You cards in early 2013. I knew, however, if I didn’t have a goal I wouldn’t stick with it; so, I decided to write one Thank You note, every day, for a year.
I started by Thanking my close friends and family, the people who easily come to mind when asked who you are Thankful for. But eventually I ran out of the “closest” and most obvious people to Thank. As I was forced to look deeper, I started thinking of the people who I had never thought to Thank before, former teachers and co-workers, the postman who delivers my mail every day no matter what the weather, the waitress at my favorite breakfast spot who always greets people with a smile no matter what is happening in her own life. Over time, I redeemed many relationships that would have otherwise been lost and I started to grow new bonds with people who I’d never thought to connect with in the past.
After a few months of writing Thank You notes, I started to notice a change in myself. The more time I spent looking for people to Thank the more Thankful I became. I started to care more about the people in my life and the people that I passed on the street. I thought about who they were Thankful for and who was Thankful for them. It made me think about what the world would be like if we all thought about each other that way. What it would be like if we all expressed our gratitude and were living Thankful.
The more people I Thanked, the more people became interested in my project. I started to see people around me establish their own Thank You projects. It has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my life. It can be of yours, too. Won’t you join me? #LiveThankful