The Appreciation Factor

All things Appreciation: Things to Appreciate and the Ways we look at, Show and Think about Appreciation.


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Thankful Thursdays 2/15 – the Handwritten Edition

Mixing things up a little for this edition of Thankful Thursdays. 

Usually in my Thankful Thursday posts I focus on stories and people that exemplify appreciation, kindness or those making a difference.  I’m taking a slightly different tack this month, in part to support of my 52 Letters challenge and partly in support of incowrimo. (More about that in a moment.)

It’s no secret what a big fan I am of handwriting and the handwritten note – especially the thank you kind.  Handwritten letters say you care in a way that an email or a text cannot. They are easily saved and can be savored time and time again by your recipient — no matter what carrier they have, nor whether the electricity is working.  This prompted me to think about focusing a Thankful Thursdays edition to wonderful stories and a book that all have to do with the written word and hand writing.

I hope you enjoy it and are inspired so much that you put pen-to-paper yourself!  Continue reading

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Putting Pen to Paper 52 Times (A Letter Challenge)

Here at The Appreciation Factor I frequently extol the need for sharing your gratitude and showing appreciation, but I also talk a great deal about sending handwritten (thank you) notes over an electronic one.  (Check out my Thank You Note Category if you want to read more.)  There’s something about a handwritten note that immediately says to me, “They care a little more” or “Look at the attention to detail!” Candidly the fact that I mail 90% of my correspondence and hand-write my thank you notes is something I think sets me apart in a good way.  Think about it.  When was the last time you wrote or received a handwritten note? How did it make you feel?

 

You might want to consider writing one today, especially since it’s National Handwriting Day. (More on that in a minute.)

 

Many think it’s too much trouble to get everything together to send a handwritten note.  Or they may think it’s too time-consuming to send “snail mail” when it comes to the job search. (I don’t fully agree with this).  Or they’re stymied by poor handwriting or simply by a lack of what to say.  True, some people actually have horrific handwriting, but to me it’s worth putting pen to paper, no matter what your penmanship looks to show you care. In terms of content, if you write from the heart, are authentic, and/or show gratitude, you can’t go wrong.

 

Considerations

The topic of handwriting goes deeper for me at the moment. Since the start of the new year, I’ve been thinking about writing more and sending more letters via the mail.  While I always write a handwritten thank you note after a job interview, I’ve wanted to take this idea further.  I’ve been thinking about taking on a letter-writing challenge.  The seed may have been planted/inspired by my interview with Of Note Stationers or perhaps it was last year’s 30 day letter writing challenge by Devoted Diarist  or maybe, it was the time this fall when Steph  from Postcards to Mom sent me a postcard from Portland, ME all because I said, yes when she asked who wanted one.   I’m not sure, but I do know that I want to set a goal of incorporating more appreciation and gratitude in my life this year as I know that the more I show and share it with the world, the more the universe will send it back to me. Who doesn’t want more of that?

What’s stopped me from kicking this off so far has been: how many letters to write, when I should start (e.g., Can I say I started January 1st and just catch up), and whom should I write to?  These questions were making me feel a little overwhelmed and as I’m leaning in a great book The 5 Second Rule the second after you think of a great idea, the mind conspires to stop you from completing it.  Yes it does!  However today when I saw a post on Twitter promoting National Handwriting Day it was a sign for me to take action.

History of National Handwriting Day

National Handwriting Day was established by the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association in 1977,
as a way to reintroduce one’s self to a pen and a piece of paper. They thought it was “a chance to re-explore
the purity and power of handwriting.” – WOW that’s deep!
It’s also the same day as John Hancock’s birthday – the first person to sign the Declaration of Independence.

So you’re hearing it here first….

One of my goals for 2018 is that I am going to send 52 handwritten letters/notes in 2018.

Guidelines:

  • Letters, note cards and postcards count. (Job interview thank you notes do not, nor does typed correspondence – unless I’m being kitschy and using a typewriter. Ha Ha.)
  • In each piece of correspondence,  I will try to instill or focus on my gratitude and appreciation. Is there something that I can genuinely express in my note? Wonderful, if it feels forced, I won’t bother.
  • Write the letter/note as soon as it comes to me.  For each moment that passes between the idea and putting pen to paper means the less likely I’ll be to write it.
  • Aim for surprise and delight.  I also hope to surprise some of my recipients.   I think surprise mail – those pieces which are unexpected and/or out of the blue, but which really seem to make someone’s day, is the best kind of letter to receive.  Sometimes it’s just noticing the other person is alive is what means so much.
  • Write more than just thank you notes.  Just because I’ll be including my gratitude and appreciation will not mean that every letter is thank you based. A Just Because card is great too!
  • Don’t expect  to hear/receive a card/note back. The goal is not to collect letters, nor does everyone want or like to write letters. That’s OK. This #52Letters goal is for me.
  • Write 1 love letter. I want to include at least one of these and I always love an extra challenge.
  • Be Creative. While I’ll never be Devoted Diarist (see below) with her stylized envelopes which I covet, I will write neatly (hey undertaking  the challenge will improve my penmanship) and I’ll be creative where I can and perhaps with the chosen recipients.

    Source: Devoted Diarist
    Iris Apfel (in glasses) Card by @tay.ham

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The handwritten note is powerful.  It becomes a literal piece of history and in many cases a cherished piece of correspondence or love letter.  The simple task of writing a note will also help slow me down and be deliberate in my actions.  I’m looking forward to sharing more love and gratitude in the world as simply sharing it also makes me feel good.  I’ll provide updates or tweets on my progress so you can see how it’s going.

 

PS:  This is my 100th post and on a topic that’s near and dear to my heart.  Thank you for being along for the ride, these almost 6 years. (1/31 is my 6th anniversary.)  I’m so grateful for your support, encouragement, patience, ideas, and appreciation of my little piece of the blogosphere.    If I could send you all a handwritten thank you note, I would.
Thank you,
K

 


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The Power of the Written Word – Featuring Of Note Stationers

I may have met my match when it comes to appreciation and letter writing in Kate Kellman (KK) and Isabel Bonenfant (IB) of Of Note Stationers.  These two lovely ladies started a company that was specifically meant to bring back the slower process of letter writing and to help bring a better balance to their fast paced lives.  The Appreciation Factor was fortunate enough to score an interview with these two.

 

Who is Of Note Stationers:

Of Note Stationers is a unique card/stationery company out of Amherst, MA that is focused on encouraging people to slow down and be mindful of the world around them through letter writing/sending correspondence. While they primarily produce cards they also create:

  • Letter Writing Sets
  • Gift Tags
  • Art Prints
  • Rubber Stamps
  • Mini Notes
  • Custom Business Cards and more

ONS cards tap into our generosity of spirit and include messages that emphasize the things that you may often think, but you don’t often say.   Here are two great examples:

                       You can and You Will”
“I think of you often and want you to know” 

 

I think Kate and Isabel put it best when they say,

“We believe that letter writing is a mindful act.
It’s one that allows you to slow down, appreciate the little things in life,
|and share that appreciation with others.

We strive to keep people connected and deepen relationships through the written word.”

 

You can see why I/The Appreciation Factor fell in love with the company and these two women immediately!

Here are some highlights from my interview:

How it All Began

After meeting in the summer of 2012, Kate, at the time a Special Ed teacher, realized that she was living at a pace that was unsustainable.  She wasn’t sure what direction she wanted to go in next, but knew something had to change. Isabel was also making a change, as she was moving from a position in industrial design to one in graphic design.

The two had become friends after living together for several months and learning that they both had a love of letter writing in common.  “Letter writing was something that took deliberation took time and effort to complete,” Kate told me.  “Our lives were becoming so digital, what with everyone primarily conversing via emails, social media and texts.  Isabel and I both loved, and wanted to bring back the slow process of letter writing.”

The idea of possibly creating a business around this process was further sparked when Isabel and her fiancé were designing their wedding invitations. A friend of theirs from Mass Art printed the invitations on a letterpress and they fell in love with the [creative] process.”

KK:  “We thought that starting a stationery/correspondence company would be a way to force us to slow down.  Neither of us had a background in business, but we knew that if we went ahead with this kind of company that we didn’t want to be like everyone else; we wanted to make an impact.”

Kate and Isabel also knew they needed to do their homework before launching a business.  She continues, “We spent a year doing market research on the card industry, visiting different specialty and retail card stores, attending trade shows, and researching the internet and social media.  We found a huge community of letter writers who were so wonderful and supportive.

When considering what type of company we wanted to create, we decided that we wanted to narrow our focus.  We were especially drawn towards the “just because” message.  Both Isabel and I always enjoyed receiving and sending cards that conveyed a “because I’m thinking of you message.”  We felt this niche supported friendship in a thoughtful, slow way.

We also knew that people often think [positive] things about their friends and family but that they don’t often say out them loud and/or share them.  We wanted to encourage and provide a way for people to share these kind words.”

 

A Field Apart

Of Note Stationers products aren’t quite like everyone else’s out there. For instance their “tagline” says, “Specializing in meaningful correspondence.”  Beyond noticing that almost EVERY CARD sparked a “YES! I’ve wanted to say that!” moment in me, I noticed that Of Note Stationers doesn’t include many images on their products. Most cards and other products only contain words.

 

TAF: I noticed that your cards, prints and stationery primarily only feature words. Is there a reason for this?

KK:  “This was deliberate.  There are two reasons for this.

    1. We wanted to honor the power of words we feature so that their true meaning is felt and heard. We felt that images would take away the focus on the words themselves. 

      Card: Magnificent. (Mag . nif. i. cent)      adj. exceptionally fine. Today was magnificent.

We often look at words and think we know the meaning. Isabel and I found that when we looked up several words that we were considering for cards, the definitions went so much deeper
than we thought.  We began to see the true meaning and saw that many would have a greater impact than we thought they would.  For instance, our Magnificent card, it reads “exceptionally fine. Today was magnificent.” Think about how much that definition could resonate and mean to the person who receives it.

 

 

 

 

 

2.  The second reason is that it allows the words inside, [your message/note] to have a greater impact. Your recipient can truly enjoy the sentiment and words that you are sharing.”

 

Kate added, “We are adding some illustrations to cards, but it’s done with intention.  The images are minimal and we feel they add to the sentiments vs. distract from them.”

 

 

TAF: What do you like most about your business?

IB: “There are honestly quite a few things that I love about our business, but I will start by saying that having the freedom to make decisions that suit our vision, our lifestyle, and our goals is one of the privileges that makes this journey of owning our business well worth it. Since we started this venture, we’ve each worn many hats as we’ve learned the ins and outs of operating a business. From designing, to marketing, to figuring out production and packaging, to planning events, it’s quite exciting although sometimes overwhelming to be constantly learning. While some decisions have led us to success and others have been more of a learning experience, we have been truly lucky to have found a community of small business owners that have been both supportive and inspiring in our journey.”

 

KK “Everything… I like going to work every day.  We’re learning as we go, and there’s a constant variety to what I do. Isabel and I also love meeting people like you [The Appreciation Factor], who appreciate what we’re doing, the cards/messages we’re creating, and that they share our passion for letter writing. There has also been a good enough response so far for us to keep going. I don’t see a reason for us to stop. Overall it’s made us happier in life.”

 


TAF: What tips would you give my followers about sending correspondence?

IB: “To get a letter, write a letter. Sometimes, it takes writing a couple to receive one in return, but there is nothing more rewarding than coming home to a handwritten note in the mailbox. Whether it comes from a friend, a family member, or a pen pal, there is something really magical about sharing your thoughts in writing. One of my pen pals is actually a really good friend of mine from college. She currently lives in Brooklyn and although we exchange text messages and phone calls occasionally, I feel like I have gotten to know her more deeply through her letters.  I have found that we’re able to connect in a different way. Perhaps it’s because of the state of mind we find ourselves while writing, but I know that there is extreme value in strengthening a friendship through the handwritten word.”

 

KK:  “I know that stepping out of our normal [using texts, emails, and social media to communicate] can be daunting, but I’d like to encourage you to let go of the pressure of doing something different. The fact that you took time out of your day to buy a card, sit down, and write, is a gift in of itself. Don’t worry about saying something profound. It’s okay to keep it simple and just let someone know that you are thinking of them. I bet you’ll surprise yourself. It’s your thoughtfulness, the hand-written message, and your presence through the card that will further connect you with those people.”

 

I simply love that Kate also sees the card as a gift in and of its self.  Truly, as I often say here, it’s the little things in life that can have the greatest impact.  I can’t recommended checking out Of Note Stationers highly enough. They offer seasonal cards and likely will have that card that will have you too saying – “YES! That’s exactly what I’ve always wanted to say.”  I also found these two lovely woman down to earth and just as kind as the sentiments that grace their products, especially after they so graciously agreed to an interview!  I suspect we’ll see these two in the stationery and correspondence industry for years to come.

Many thanks to Kate and Isabel for their time, kindness when I was a bit of a fan girl when I met them for the first time, and for their patience while I got this post written.  It’s true, this community of those who appreciate the handwritten letter and correspondence is strong and supportive. I feel so fortunate to be able to consider myself part of this “tribe.”

You can see more of Of Note Stationers line of products and can follow them at the addresses below! I really hope you’ll check them out!

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ofnotestationers/

Twitter: @ofnotestationer   (note No “s” at the end)

Web: www.ofnotestationers.com

 

Do you have a go to card, stationery or company that thinks about appreciation that we do, which you’d like to see featured on The Appreciation Factor? Please let me know.

I’m always on the look out for people and companies who see value in showing gratitude and taking the time to write a handwritten note!


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Today is #GivingTuesday. Are You Supporting the Day that Was Established to Help “Bringing Back the True Meaning of the Holidays?”

In the spirit of #GivingTuesday (today), I wanted to refresh an older post on one of my favorite days of the year.  Giving Tuesday is 6 years strong today and looking at #socialmedia is growing in leaps and bounds.

 

For many, the holidays bring stress and pressure in not only finding the right gift, but how many gifts to give, what is the best price for said gifts, and of course long linesthe annual question on whether to shop or not to shop #BlackFriday.  And as you know, Black Friday has even creeps infringes on our time with family over the Thanksgiving holiday!

 

 

While all of these things may be seem important, why not stop and take the time to go back to what the holidays are really about, saying thanks and giving back.  Here at The Appreciation Factor, I’ve found a way you can do this — consider spreading the word and participating in #GivingTuesday2017.  This year, November 28th marks the sixth annual Giving Tuesday.

giving tuesdayHaven’t heard about it? What is Giving Tuesday?
Set on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday was started in 2012 as a global, 24-hour giving challenge created by thought-leaders at the UN Foundation and the 92nd Street Y.

 

 

#Giving Tuesday’s focus was to bring back the original sentiments of the holiday season:

  • Generosity
  • Hope
  • Goodwill, and
  • Community

 

As per the Giving Tuesday organization:

#GivingTuesday harnesses the potential of social media and the generosity of people around the world to bring about real change in their communities; it provides a platform for them to encourage the donation of time, resources and talents to address local challenges. It also brings together the collective power of a unique blend of partners— nonprofits, civic organizations, businesses and corporations, as well as families and individuals—to encourage and amplify small acts of kindness.

 

 

If you’ve been following me/read other posts on this blog, you’ll agree that these are all things I can get my hands around.  It shows appreciation for more than just the retail side of things during the holiday season.

The concept gained steam with the help of founding partnerships with The United Nations Foundation, Donors ChooseMashableGlobal Giving, the Darden Restaurant GroupGroupon, and Unilever and several others.  There ongoing success is partly due to the assistance from renewing corporate sponsorships by Google, Microsoft, Skype, Cisco, UNICEF, and the Case Foundation.  This participation has helped the #GivingTuesday initiative raise millions of dollars for thousands of non-profits. – Wikipedia

 

Did you know? Americans give more to charitable organizations in dollars :$300B
When seen as a percentage of the GDP, 2.1% more than any other developed country

Source: Forbes 2014

 

There are many non-profit organizations participating/asking for your help on #GivingTuesday, maybe one of your favorites, and many more that truly need our help at this time of year.  Plus #GivingTuesday is a great alternative to the pressure to spend, spend, spend on gifts that may not make as much of an impact.

How Can You Participate?

The idea is simple.  Give to a non-profit organization of your choice Tuesday, November 28th.  BUT… don’t feel that the only way you can join in is to give financially.
Here are 3 ways you can make a difference:

    1. You can post an “Unselfie”   (You read that correctly.  It’s UNselfie not Selfie.)
  1. Still going strong in 2017, although many companies create their own, with their own humanitarian efforts and hashtags included.
    In 2013, #GivingTuesday supporters were encouraged to take a photo of themselves or something that represented their giving, upload it to their social media account of choice, and use the hashtags: #unselfie and #GivingTuesday. It was a resounding success and they’ve asked that we take on the Unselfie challenge again this year.

You can download your own Unselfie

 

2. Give of your time.  Pledge to give 10 mins or 10 hours of volunteer or your expertise to help further their efforts. Every little bit will help.

3.  Choose to make holiday purchases from retailers who give back. (Check to see if they donate a portion of their profits, have a company foundation that supports those in need, or even better, are they participating in Giving Tuesday?

You can of course also simply just spread the work and kindness through a random act of kindness (#ROAK) or publish a post on your social platforms, but I hope you’ll consider doing more.

So… What will you do?

 

 

MY PLEDGE (aka: Unselfie) FOR 2017

– Pledge to give 30 hours of volunteer time over the next 6 months

– Promote and buy more gifts/items from companies that give back

– Make a $100 donation to an organization or organisations that I feel passionate about.

– Promote #GivingTuesday through my social media profiles

Want more information/Want to get involved?

Learn More:

Share:

 

Don’t forget to post your #Unselfie or give (in the best way for you (time and talents are JUST AS IMPORTANT as financial support) to your favorite non-profit.
If your favorite doesn’t seem to be participating in #GivingTuesday, be sure to mention your #GivingTuesday participation along with your “donation” to help spread the word.

I’d love to hear your feedback, and how you may be participating in #GivingTuesday!


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10 Easy Ways to Share Kindness on World Kindness Day (It’s today 11/13!)

November is such a caring month.  Not only do we have Thanksgiving at the end of the month, it’s also #NationalGratitudeMonth, and today we have one of my favorite “celebrations,” #WorldKindnessDay.

I’m sure many of you have felt like me, and have seen a lot of negativity getting spread in the world today. Candidly, there are times that if I didn’t have to be on/use social media in my professional life, I might stop using all together.  Still, I know that there is good out there.  I have friends that remind me of this fact often, strangers that go out of their way to be friendly, and acquaintances who have helped simply because I asked.

When it comes down to it, we can make a difference
simply by focusing on the small things

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November is National Gratitude Month

There seems to be a great partnership with #NationalGratitudeMonth and well the month that has Thanksgiving… but as I always say, why share gratitude and appreciation only one day of the year? You should share it every day.

Showing gratitude or appreciation really only takes a moment but the effects can be life changing or at least resonate well beyond the moment you share it.  However words can lose meaning if they’re just words. Be sure when you express your gratitude you do it sincerely, or show it through heartfelt actions.

In honor of National Gratitude Month and celebrating what The Appreciation Factor is all about…

Here are 30 ideas to show your gratitude this month (1 for each day):

  1. Keep a gratitude journal or jot down 1-3 things your grateful for each day  Remember, gratitude starts with you. If you’re not appreciating yourself or the things around, it’s harder to be grateful for other things and/or other people. I love the Happiness Planner there’s a space to provide things you are grateful for each day and/or each week.
  2. Write at least 1 thank you note per week this month
    • Ideas: Colleagues, a provider (e.g., think your exercise coach, Barre3 instructor, personal trainer or even the mailman who always puts your packages under the bench to keep them hidden), your local librarian, a friend who always just seems to be there, and/or family members are just a few who I know would appreciate a heart-felt note.
  3. Create 10 www.kindnessrocks.org rocks and place them around your neighborhood  While the movement started on the beach, I recently found one in my neighborhood (not at all near the beach) and the message was so important for me to read at that time.  That rock now sits prominently on my window sill.
  4. Create a holiday card list  Compile a list of everyone whom may have helped you this year; it can even include your boss.  Getting ready now means you can beat the holiday rush and mail these out either around Thanksgiving or at the very beginning of December to cut through the clutter and make an impact.
  5.  Volunteer  Find and organization that is meaningful to you and see if you can lend a hand. Many groups have annual events that you can help staff. You can also help them with a mailing or make deliveries. How and where you help is really up to you.  *I do recommend that you find an organization that you can stick with – at least for a year or two. The longer you volunteer, the more responsibilities you may be given.
    • Not sure who’s looking for volunteers? Try www.volunteermatch.org which matches you with local organizations based upon your ZIP code and across multiple categories.
  6. Clean up We’ve all come across trash/debris during our day.  Keep a garbage bag in your trunk or backpack and pick up the litter when you see in on your walk or commute. You’re saying thanks to your town/environment by keeping it a little cleaner and greener.
  7. Donate a book(s) to a Little Free Library We’ve all been there. We’re cleaning up our home/apartment and come across books we’ve read and just don’t have the room for anymore. Consider a neighborhood Little Free Library for these gems. The concept is that anyone can take a book and/or leave a book.  Check out the link above for locations that are near you, or ask to create one in your neighborhood or town.
  8. Donate food to a food pantry  Be grateful for your ability to buy or have food on the table by sharing food with those who may need that extra help each month.
  9. “Buy” Make Lunch/Dinner  Keeping food allergies and preferences in mind, make or buy lunch/dinner for a friend. This is even better when it’s a surprise.  It’s different way to say rather than simply sending a note or sharing it verbally.
  10. Donate your clothing/household items   You can select the charity you prefer, but why not give life to your gently used items by donating them. (Just a FYI: Goodwill accepts all kinds of fabric scraps — from the one sock, to ripped T’s they make things from these miscellaneous items and ship them around the world.)
  11. Create a “Honey it’s what you Do” list  Most have heard of a “Honey Do” list where you list chores and tasks you want our significant other to help you with. Instead, create a list of all of the things that make him/her special to you. 
  12. Social shout out In a world that’s become fixated on social media, share your gratitude,  recommendation and/or shout out on social for friends and colleagues to see. Everyone likes to be recognized!
  13. Send a small meaningful gift  Keeping meaningful in mind, find a small token to show your appreciation for a friend, family member, colleague or provider. Pick something that they’ve had their eye one, one that will make them smile and/or something that they like to do. e.g., I have a friend who is addicted to iTunes.  I bought a $5 card for her to buy a couple of songs to add to her collection.
  14. Reach out and touch someone – via the phone So often we text our conversations.  Instead, pick up the phone and make it more personal with a call.
  15. Say thank you  Some things that people do for us may seem like their job or expected. However, saying thank you to the checkout girl, sales associate, or your boss will be noticed and appreciated.
  16. Provide a Recommendation/Referral Provide an unsolicited, positive recommendation on LinkedIn, or offer to be a reference for a new job. Don’t wait to be asked, make the offer instead.
  17. Call out great service to a manager Whether it be in the retail store or at the office, making a point to call out – and be specific as possible – how someone has helped you to their manager is huge. So often managers only hear the complaints. When you are praising their employees, in a small way, you’re also praising their management. It’s a two-fer!
  18. Write a thank you note to a service member Being in combat or in the field can be a lonely, challenging and scary place. They may love making a difference but they miss those here at home.  A note from a stranger thanking them for their contributions can brighten what may at times feel like a bleak situation.  Operation Gratitude is just one organization that can help you can share your thanks with the troops.
  19. Pick/Buy Flowers  Pick a bouquet (if out of your own yard of course!) or buy a small bunch at a florist or Trader Joe’s. Nothing perks up a day like a thank you via flowers!
  20. Help a family member or friend do something they need (even if it’s not something you enjoy) There are always those tasks that no one likes to do, but as their friend or family member, lighten the load and let them know you care by helping them out.  (e.g., raking leaves, cleaning the house (you could clean 1 room) etc.)
  21. Say you’re sorry  Being grateful also means that you care enough to say sorry when you’re in the wrong/have hurt someone.
  22. Make a gift The most appreciated gifts can be those that are homemade. Again, identify something that would be meaningful to the recipient. Do they like the beach? Make a shell collage from their favorite location.
  23. Visit  Like our penchant for texts vs. calling, actual in-person visits are going by the way side. Find time to spend with a family member or friend and truly be in the moment with him/her. *Note this means putting down your phone while you do!
  24. Do the dishes or make dinner without being asked Instead of a trade-off (I cook, you clean), simply take over the clean-up or cooking.
  25. Lighten the load  Offer to take on a colleague’s project if appropriate.  You know you would appreciate the help if it were offered.
  26. Write yourself a “love” letter As I mentioned earlier, it’s important to appreciate yourself. Take 20 minutes to really call out what makes you special and unique from everyone else. (It’s OK to brag here.) It’s a great way to give yourself a boost if you’re feeling less than spectacular – today or in the future.
  27. Tell someone that they make the world a better place What a powerful statement to hear!
  28. Provide a Loan If you’re able, loan someone some money that s/he may need without the expectation of having it paid back. Or loan a tool/book or other object, again without expecting him/her to return it.
  29. Bake something Bake a sweet or savory treat for someone to show how much you care.
  30. Celebrate a tradition or holiday that you may not already celebrate but someone you care about does.  Diversity is important, and respecting and supporting traditions and holidays that are important to those you care about shows your respect and gratitude for having them in your life.

WOW 30 ideas!  Are you inspired?  Don’t fret if you’ve come across this post after November 1st or even months from now.  You don’t need a special day or month to share gratitude and appreciation.  If you read this in mid-November, many of these ideas are easy to do and you can accomplish more than one in one day if your goal is to complete 30.  However, I strongly recommend that you pick those ideas above (or create your own) that are most meaningful to you or things that you’d like to do (or things you don’t really like to do #19,) which show you care.

On December 1st, count up how many tasks you completed.  How many did you cross off?  I bet your outlook on life and attitude in general has improved! I know I’ve attracted great things and am happier when I’ve taken more time to share and experience gratitude for things and people around me.

 

So how about it – who’s joining me in #30DaysofGratitude and celebrating #NationalGratitudeMonth?
Share your ideas and what you did for others in the comments below! I can’t wait to read them!


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Have You Said Thank You Lately?

If not, today is definitely the day to do it.  It’s National Thank you Day!

Sometimes I think that there are holiday’s custom-made for The Appreciation Factor, and if so, this is surely one of them.   As one of the biggest proponents of expressing my appreciation and saying thanks, this day speaks volumes. Of course, for those of you who know me well, we shouldn’t require a “holiday” dedicated to appreciation to be the only time and/or reason to say thanks, but if it helps… I’ll take it!

Does Saying Thanks Make a Difference?

Saying thank you is powerful.  It can bring joy.  It can immediately disarm someone who’s feeling under appreciated.  It can also provide validation for the hard work.  I even read a great article that said showing appreciation to your employees will subconsciously make them work harder for you and increase their longevity at the company.  I know I try harder when a boss has told me that I’ve done a good job.

I think this is why it always puzzles me when these comments come up, “You’re paid to do a good job,” and “They are supposed to do X so why should I thank them?”   I don’t ever think that monetary compensation or the fact that a task/chore is something a person is supposed to do should be a reason not say thank you. Nor do I think that others always intuitively know that you are grateful unless you say something.  People thrive on praise and often strive to feel worthy. Saying thank you or sending a thank you note is a great way to acknowledge their help, and to help them achieve those goals.

 

Thanks Aren’t Necessary…. That’s probably not 100% True

I’m sure you’ve met someone who’s said, “It’s OK, I don’t need any thanks,” but likely it’s not 100% true. If you agree with Dr. Laura Trice (in the TED Talk below), people may say this simply because admitting that they need and want to feel appreciated and praised would be sharing their deep-seeded insecurities/needs.  I would propose that these people would appreciate it if you  shared your gratitude for the help, support, or kind act.

 

On this National Thank You Day, I’m pledging to write and/or say thank you to those who are making a difference in my life, supporting my goals I’m also going to make sure that I go out of my way to thank those for the simpler things, like the stranger who holds the door for you, or the librarian who took a few extra minutes to help find that “must read book”.  So how about it?  Today on #NationalThankYouDay take that extra minute and say thanks.  I KNOW it will make a difference in someone’s day.

And a tip:  If you’re on the receiving end, be sure to say “You’re Welcome.” So often we counter with “No problem,” “It’s OK,” or “Don’t Worry About it,” but whatever we’ve done did help someone and it make a difference.  So it’s better to graciously acknowledge the thanks and move on.

 

Want to Make Your Thank You Extra Special?  

Send a handwritten thank you note. (Always my preferred method of showing gratitude.)  These are some of the cards I’m using these days.  Many have “Thank you” incorporated on the card itself, but if you recall Janet Parnes, the etiquette expert’s advice it’s actually better to NOT have “Thank you” imprinted. So I sometimes use these lovely gold embossed initial cards below that I received for Christmas.

 

 

 

Card Details:

Thanks a Ton:  This cutie is from Red + Wolfe, an eco-friendly paper company that gives $1 per card sold to wildlife conservation. For all of you Bostonian followers, this owner/maker, Rachel Mott sells her cards at SOWA markets and at several specialty boutiques in the South End. (I’m planning to feature her in the blog soon so keep a look out).

 

Thank You with gold embossed starfish: Picked up these gems at #Marshalls.  They’re a part of Graphic de France’s La Petite Presse line.  They are so cute that I almost hated to use them!

 

Gold Hand Engraved Initial K:  Available in every letter of the alphabet, these are from Crane 

 

 

**Need tips on writing a powerful thank you note? Check out this post or this one.

What is the most memorable thank you you’ve ever received?
Do you have a go to card/stationery/shop you turn to when you write a thank you note?

I’m always looking for new options!