As I said in part 1, the year before last it was clutter. Last year it was gratitude
In 2021 I decided to take on a year-long experiment. I decided to get rid of three things every day. Yep. Every day I ditched at least three items of clutter.
Did I manage to do it? Spoiler alert. You betcha! You can read about the results of my grand, year-long experiment – how I got rid of three things every day.
In 2022 I needed a new experiment.
I decided to make and send a gratitude card to a different person every week for a year
Here are five things I learned from my year-long experiment
1. I ditched the fear by treating it as an experiment
- Painting watercolour postcards and sending them to people brought up all sorts of fears. What would people think? Would they make fun of my art? What was I thinking by making myself vulnerable like this!!??
- I’m not great at watercolour painting and I had to overcome my fear of what people would think.
- Simply looking at it as an experiment and being playful really helped. This saying, by Kurt Vonnegut sums it up perfectly.
2. Gratitude can mean a lot of different things
- There were people I was grateful for for the deep and ongoing impact they’ve had on me like the “Goddess” women’s group I started sixteen years ago, whose members are my “3 am people” – e.g. people I can call at 3 am needing help and they’d be there for me.
- And there were people that haven’t been in my life for a loooong time but made a huge impact oh so many years ago like the doctor who delivered my first born who I hadn’t met before. I’ll never forget how she made me feel (powerful and confident), plus her gorgeous long curly hair, a funky necklace, and her Doc Marten boots.
- There were also institutions I was grateful for, like the Canadian government (more on that later), and the University of British Columbia.
3. There’s a lot to be grateful for once you start looking (and keep looking)
- Coming up with 52 people I was grateful for was surprisingly easy and also global. I ended up sending cards all over the world, from Canada and Kenya to Sweden and India.
- It was a wonderful trip down memory lane and it was really fun to brainstorm, not to mention the warm fuzzies it gave me knowing how much I had to be grateful for.
4. I didn’t get hung up on logistics
- That doctor that delivered my firstborn some 25 years ago? I don’t remember her name so I simply sent a postcard to the hospital.
- The massive impact that a number of Canadian government programs for youth had on me growing up cannot be underrated. It changed my life. Who to write to express gratitude? Why the Prime Minister of Canada of course.
- I tried to find specific addresses and people but I didn’t get hung up and let it stop me if I couldn’t find the right information. It was enough, for me, to put the gratitude out into the world.
5. I didn’t expect a reply but those people that did were lovely!
- When I started sending out the postcards I hadn’t thought about whether people would reply.
- I didn’t expect people to reply as that wasn’t the point. I was doing this for them, not for me.
- But those that did were lovely! It was really fun to hear how they felt getting the cards.
So what’s the verdict on my year-long gratitude experiment?
It was a success! It felt great to have said thanks to a lot of people and get specific about why I’m grateful for them. I’m grateful for what the process brought to me, plus I have a sense of gratitude for having so much to be grateful for, and a sense of calm, peace, and accomplishment for having done it.
I took pictures of all the cards I made and the notes I wrote on them and it’s been fun to look back.
How about you? Would you consider a similar gratitude project? Let me know by leaving a comment below
Now go on and learn, laugh, and lead
- Think of the people in your life that you’re grateful for and why.
- Who else am I grateful for? Why you of course!
- Tell someone (verbally, via a postcard, a little video clip, etc.) why you’re grateful for them. I promise you they’ll be tickled pink.
P.S. It’s Learning and Development Roundtable time! Find out more about the January 26th Roundtable: “How to Design a customized learning plan for 2023 that fits you and your team to a T and increases your ROI.” Or simply sign up straight away.