Archive for the ‘Expressing Gratitude’ Category

Many Years of Fly-Fishing Brought Them to this Gratitude Moment

Friday, April 6th, 2012

I received a very moving story of an expression of gratitude that I would like to share with you.  The reason I’m sharing this particular story is because it vividly demonstrates how we can spend years of meaningful time with someone important to us and never take the time to articulate to that person the magnitude of that person’s impact on our life.

Jim heard a recent presentation of mine on the importance of expressing profound gratitude.  It not only resonated with him but he acted on it.  Here is Jim’s story as he shared it with me.

In 1993 I met Bill, a fly-fishing guide, during a trip to Alaska. Life hands you opportunities for letting people come into and remain in your life, and so it was with Bill.  In the nearly 20 years since, we figure we have spent over a year fishing, ending our days together over a campfire, enjoying a cigar, a single malt, and conversation.  There is no man in the world who knows me as well as Bill does.

In our last trip, over a campfire on a cold early winter evening in the high country of Arizona, I expressed my gratitude to Bill.  He has helped me truly understand and enjoy the outdoors.  His constant patience with my less-than-ideal casting abilities, points to his roots as a teacher who has never stopped teaching.  No matter what issue or problem I might be facing, I know that I have a sympathetic ear and someone who will tell it to me “with the bark on.”

Well, we have found over the years that we have gotten more emotional.  We shed a few tears that evening, and had to resort to another dram to buck up our spirits.

Think about it for a moment.  Is there someone who has been important to you over the years that you have yet to express your profound gratitude for their impact on your life?  Likely so.  Do not miss the opportunity while everyone is alive and well.  You will be enriched by the experience not to mention you will not have to deal with the all too often regrets for things that have been left unsaid.

If you need guidance on how to express profound gratitude, download your Free Guide to Creating Your Own Gratitude Expressions at the bottom of this page.

Sharing the Power of Expressing Profound Gratitude with Greg Voisen

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Greg Voisen, the Founder of Inside Personal Growth this week.  He does his homework as a thoughtful student and he asks great questions as an inspiring teacher.  This dialogue will likely enhance your understanding and appreciation of the power of expressing extraordinary gratitude.

You can access the podcast of our interview here:  Interview with Greg Voisen, Founder of Inside Personal Growth

Why New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s Mother Was Speechless

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

A few nights ago I heard Oprah interviewing NJ Governor Chris Christie. When the topic of the profound influence his mother had on him was brought up he shared a story from when she had just two days to live. On that Friday morning that he sat with her she asked him why he was not at work. In her mind it was 9:30 am on a workday, where else should he have been?

His loving response to her was that he was where he wanted to be. To that his mother simply replied, “There is nothing left unsaid between us. You should be at work.” Governor Christie was fortunate in at least two respects. Firstly, he knew that his mother had a short time to live and was able to spend it with her. Secondly, everything that was to be said had been said.

Since the vast majority of us will not know when people who have been important to us will die, wouldn’t it serve us, and them, to make sure nothing is unsaid? How much better it feel to know that we shared all of our love, respect, admiration and gratitude before it was too late?

Many of us know all too well about the regret of words unsaid. Fortunately I also know how enriching it is to take the time to express profound gratitude to significant relations when there is no impending separation. I was blessed to have the opportunity to take a yearlong journey to express my gratitude for the people who made the most significant influences on my life.

I encourage you to feel what it is like to have “nothing left unsaid between us.” Reach out and create an opportunity you might otherwise regret missing. If you are not sure how to get started, download your Free Guide to Creating Your Own Gratitude Expressions at the bottom of this page.

What Regis Philbin’s Memoir, How I Got This Way Teaches Us About Regret

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

If you have watched any talk shows or you’ve even skimmed the New York Times book release lists lately, you have probably seen Regis Philbin or his name mentioned frequently. The former talk show host of Live with Regis and Kelly! just released his memoir entitled, How I Got This Way. In it he shares stories about his many years in showbiz, and takes the opportunity to thank all of the “unexpected teachers” he had in his life. Many of these people are still around to benefit from the praise he bestows on them within the pages of his book. Some, unfortunately, will never see his expressions of gratitude in print. It is my hope that Regis had the opportunity to share his feelings with people such as legendary Notre Dame coach Frank Leahy before his passing in the early 1970s. (You certainly didn’t need to follow Regis’ daily show to know how much he respected the former coaches of his alma mater.)

Memoirs can be bitter sweet to many authors. There is a deep sense of love for the process of sharing the successes and lessons of your life with others. On the other hand, there can be sadness and regret about words left unsaid.

So why are memoirs not a great way to express gratitude to the significant people in your life? I know too well how involved the process of writing a book can be and I would certainly not recommend it as an easy way to express gratitude. In addition, by the time many of us would have the available time and breath of stories to share in a memoir, some, or even many of our life’s influencers may no longer be around to enjoy it.

You don’t have to be a celebrity, or an aspiring author to express profound gratitude and enrich your significant relationships. You only need to find a way that best suits you and your influencers; it could be in the form of a song, a poem, a letter, an in-person event, a video, and much more.

Have you expressed gratitude towards someone who has made an impact on your life lately? How did you do it? What benefits did you both get from the experience? I would love to hear your story and with your permission, share it here on this site.

An Exceptional Holiday Gift Everyone Can Afford

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

We have all seen the TV ads for Black Friday and our mailboxes are being filled with retail advertisements for holiday shopping.  For many of us the experience of gift giving is stressful not only because we feel the need to buy the perfect gift, but we also feel pressure to spend money at a time when budgets are tight.

Make the most of this holiday season with a personal, thoughtful and inexpensive gift that will be a perfect “fit.”

There is nothing more personal than a gift of explicit gratitude to someone who has made a real difference in your life. This is a gift only you can give and in doing so, it is likely that you will enrich your life, enhance your relationship and bring joy to the recipient.

I recognize that it’s highly unlikely that anyone will take a journey similar to my yearlong victory lap. I was fortunate to have the time and resources to devote to this significant undertaking, and it was also important for me to do it in this way.

All of our life circumstances are different, however, and our processes and journeys will of course go in various directions. I did things my way, and you should do them your way. For example, you don’t have to travel around the country having face-to-face conversations with people. If you do want to meet in person, you can start with those close to home and schedule others during vacations, holiday visits, business trips, and so forth.

Writing a letter costs the paper it’s written on and a stamp, and e-mails and phone calls are virtually free. In other words, everyone can afford to make these expressions of gratitude. The investment is low and the payoff is high, and there are so few opportunities in life that this can be said for. How you go about conveying your messages is entirely up to you; just design a way that’s meaningful but doable (and affordable) for you.

In my book This Is The Moment! I share a story entitled “44-cent stamp.”  It is the real-life tale of two marines that had a relationship spanning over a half a century.  My friend, one of the marines shared with me that by writing a letter to his dying friend took just 15 minutes required only two pieces of paper, an envelope, and a 44-cent stamp but in doing so gave him amazing peace of mind and closure to this all important relationship.

Take a few moments this holiday season to give the perfect gift.  I’d love to hear how you expressed profound gratitude and the reactions it created.

Ripples of Gratitude

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

In the short time since I completed my personal victory lap, I’ve started hearing about how it’s also serving others who weren’t part of my journey, and even people that I’ve never met. I hope you find the following story as fascinating as I do.

48 Hours

One driven businessman in his 40s, who heard about my journey from a mutual friend, said that it was life-changing for him. It enabled him to renew his relationship with his grandmother, who’d done everything for him when he was younger except give birth to him.

This man hadn’t visited his grandmother in some time because he had no patience for spending time with an 88-year-old who, like many elderly people, tended to repeat stories and was hard of hearing. But now he was inspired to call her on a Friday night, and he simply listened to her for an hour. “She so appreciated my time,” he said.

The experience made him feel so good that he called her again the next day, talked for another 45 minutes, and then invited her to Sunday brunch. She was so excited that she said she was going to visit the beauty parlor in anticipation of the outing.

When the man and his grandmother saw each other, they cried, realizing how much they valued and missed each other. “There won’t be another 48 hours of my life that goes by without my calling her,” he vowed.

Have you been putting off expressing gratitude to someone significant in your life?  Or have you shared your gratitude and enriched a relationship?  I would love to hear your story and share it with our community.  Please use the Comments section below or send me a private message by using the Share Your Story form on this website.

The preceding is an excerpt from This is the Moment!:  How One Man’s Yearlong Journey Captured the Power of Extraordinary Gratitude (Hay House, October, 2010)

Join Us this Saturday: American Cancer Society Bark for Life Event

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

I am so much looking forward to being the Closing Ceremonies speaker this Saturday at 1PM at the American Cancer Society Bark for Life Event in San Diego, Ca.

Of course, supporting the American Cancer Society is important to me, especially so, since I remember the days following my Mother’s radical mastectomy when she was 37 and I was 9 years old. A lot of progress on this awful disease has been made since then in diagnosis, treatment and survivability but it still remains the number two cause of death in the United States. My message will be quite simple.

While we are fighting to eradicate this disease, we owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to let them know while they are still with us just how important they have been in our lives. This expression of deep gratitude will enrich our lives, enhance these special relationships and eliminate the prospects for having those all to frequent deep regrets for what we have left unsaid. Hope to see you there. For details, go to website: www.relayforlife.org/barksandiegoca

How Gratitude Sparks Continue to Ignite

Monday, July 18th, 2011

A friend sees a video and shares it on Facebook and you share it with your friends.

A family member reads a great book and forwards it to you and in turn you forward it on when you’re finished with it.

A colleague shows you a new way to use a software program that helps your productivity and you share it with your team.

All of these simple gestures have the potential to improve your life and create a ripple effect in the lives of others.

Expressing profound gratitude works in much the same way.  When I wrote This is the Moment my intention was to share the story of my yearlong journey of gratitude with others so they could see how easy and rewarding it can be.  What has happened is a ripple effect.

For instance, my son, Jason, gave away several copies of the book to friends and business colleagues.  He used the book both as an introduction to his own expressions of gratitude as well as to people who he felt might benefit from the story.  Jason’s gifts ignited several sparks of gratitude.

After reading the book, one of his business colleagues delivered a deep and profound expression of gratitude to his grandmother.  He was so moved by the impact of this experience that he apparently bought some 200 copies to give to his colleagues, family and friends.  One of these recipients who read the book was inspired to write to his childhood scoutmaster.  Much to his and my surprise, the scoutmaster said it was the first time in his life he had received such an acknowledgement and he treasured it.

How wonderful is it to see something so positive move from person to person, state to state and country to country.  In the age of wanting everything to go viral on the internet, it is wonderful to know we all have the ability to take something as beautiful as an expression of profound gratitude and touch the lives of many through this ripple effect.

Here’s how you can ignite your own spark…

Think of a teacher, a colleague, a family member or your scoutmaster from your childhood. We may or may not have thanked these people at the time for a specific contribution they may have made to our lives.  We assume because of their position and passion for helping other people, they are well compensated in the gratitude department.  We assume those they’ve helped have taken the time to express gratitude for the lessons they’ve learned and their influence on their lives.

That is rarely the case.

For the past year I’ve had the pleasure of hearing your stories of expressing profound gratitude to people who have impacted your life and how much it has enriched your lives and relationships.  It has been a delight to watch these sparks of gratitude ignite across generations and decades of friendships.

What continues to surprise me is how infrequently these life influencers are thanked for what they do.  They are seldom appreciated for the life-long impact they’ve made in our lives.  Who can you remember from 10 years ago, 20 years ago who taught you a lesson or made a real difference in your life?  Don’t assume they know how much they meant to you.  Start your own ripple effect and have the conversation, create the video, write the song or write the letter that will tell them what you have been thinking all of these years.

I would love for you to share your story with our gratitude community through a comment below or by writing to me here, at Share Your Story link.

The Perfect Gift for Father’s Day

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

In anticipation of Father’s Day it is my sincere hope to help you enhance your relationships with your father, grandfather, mentor or any father figure in your lives. This act will also eliminate any regrets for things left unsaid and give you a great gift idea for Father’s Day—the gift of a sincere “thank you” and the knowledge of how these men helped change the course of your life.

When I took my yearlong journey to thank the people who made a significant impact on me it enriched my life! Specifically, it made me much more conscious of my good fortune in having each person in my life—and, moreover, thankful for what they did for me.

That’s why on Father’s Day, explicitly expressing gratitude will enhance your relationship with the person you are thanking. It not only increases their awareness of your gratitude, but it makes you think and express the ways in which the person affected your life. Everyone loves to know that they have made a real difference in someone’s life, especially on Father’s Day!

There is nothing more special than a personal gift and nothing more personal than an expression of gratitude for the many acts of love and support that one has received from one’s Father. It’s also an easy gift—you don’t have to concern yourself with what they need or want, or if it fits or runs on batteries.

How to give this gift of gratitude on Father’s Day

The easiest and most genuine thing sons or daughters can do is to set aside time during the day to express gratitude to their Father—and schedule it so that neither of you will be interrupted. The location should be quiet and devoid of distractions. It is important to take some time beforehand to jot down notes on specific instances where your father made a difference in your life: times when he served as an example, taught you a lesson, and when he gave you love, inspiration or support. It is also important to take notes about how these moments changed you, your outlook on the world, or simply made you feel loved. I brought notes with me to all my visits and found it very helpful in setting the pace for the meeting.

If you cannot be with your father in person, a letter, perhaps accompanied by a photograph of a shared time together (stating much the same things described above), would work just fine.

For those who are not the best at expressing themselves in letters, I’ve heard testimonies from people who have inscribed the title page of This Is the Moment with a short note of gratitude within it. By reading the book, along with the note, a father will understand the significance without needing to have it expressed literally.

The gift you give to yourself

It is my hope to inspire you to not miss this opportunity to express explicit gratitude to your Father, or father figures on this day. It will enrich your life and theirs, enhance the relationships, and give you peace of mind knowing nothing is left unsaid.

Everyone wants validation, needs it, and it’s always a good fit. It is especially helpful in these tough economic times that it is not only a wonderful gift, but it is one that everyone can afford! The last third of my book, This Is the Moment is all about making it easy. You can also get a free guide to help you with your expression of gratitude by accessing the Ignite Your Spark downloadable pdf at the bottom of the pages of this website.

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What does Gratitude and a Bucket List Have in Common?

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Do you have a bucket list?  Do you think you’re too young to have your dream experiences written down or too old to still make them happen?  You are never too young to make a list of all the wonderful things you wish to do and see.  You are also never too old to still capture some of your special unfilled dreams.

I recently had the thrill of accomplishing a feat that has been on my list of important achievements I would like to do before I die.  For years when I listen to music in my home or car, I added to my enjoyment by simulating the experience of conducting the musicians.   I believed being an orchestra conductor could combine my desire to create beautiful music with the enjoyment of bringing out the most in people (in this case musicians) and my pleasure to influence and control 70 to 100 musicians through the movement of my arms, eyes, and body.

Three weeks ago, when the conductor of the Desert Symphony Orchestra said he was going to auction off the opportunity to conduct this fine orchestra to an audience of more than 1,000 people at the McCallum Theatre, I was all in.  I was ultimately the highest bidder and was blessed to conduct John Phillip Souza’s “The Washington Post” to open the concert last week.

So how does completing an item on a bucket list compare to expressing profound gratitude to those who have been important in my life as was the main focus of my yearlong journey of gratitude (my “victory lap”)?

As I reflected on this question, I concluded that in some ways it was the same but in some aspects it was different.

Bucket lists are intended to be done before we die which was the case with my yearlong journey of gratitude captured in my book, This is the Moment.  This journey was intended to not only reach out and visit people who have been important to me while they are alive and well but to encourage others to “do it now”.

Just like the cost of completing items on one’s bucket list could be minor, so is the act of expressing profound gratitude.  Doing it in an extraordinary way does not have to cost any significant expenditures of money.  A good example of this is the “44 cents” story I share in the book about a friend who was able to communicate how important a lifelong friend was to him with the use of two pieces of paper, an envelope and a 44-cent stamp.

Bucket lists and expressions of extraordinary gratitude also share a build-up of excitement, anticipation, anxiety and ultimately a feeling of sheer joy when it’s completed.

A bucket list could include reaching out and reconnecting with people but more often than not it refers to travel adventures and unique experiences.

Items on a bucket list could be the same activity for you as they could be for your friends and loved ones (bungee jumping, Alaskan cruise, etc.), but an expression of extraordinary gratitude is unique to each and every expression.  Each expression is different, which is what makes adding it to your bucket list so special.

I would be remiss if I didn’t highlight that the most important aspect that one’s bucket list and expressing extraordinary gratitude is that these are life opportunities that should not be missed.

It is never too early to add expressions of gratitude to your bucket list, but it can be too late.  Don’t let this opportunity pass you by.  Connect with your significant relationships today.

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