Posts Tagged ‘benefits of gratitude’

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.

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)

Introducing a Very Special Person…

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

This past weekend I had the pleasure to speak to members of the Chief Executive Organization and their spouses at a conference in Las Vegas.  In the audience was a CEO of a major financial firm who was to introduce the speaker following my presentation.

As the CEO finished describing the speaker’s impressive achievements in developing Las Vegas into the entertainment, gambling and convention center mecca that it is today, he took a few minutes to add an impromptu expression of profound gratitude.  He addressed the audience with, “I want to add a few more remarks that were inspired by Walter’s earlier presentation.”  He proceeded to describe his heartfelt gratitude for all this man had done for him and the impact he had on him over more than two decades.  It was obviously done spontaneously and he became very emotional.

It was a remarkable moment on several counts.  First, it was clearly a tribute that the person was so very pleased to be able to give.  Second, the recipient of his praise was also moved.  Last but not least, it was a remarkable demonstration for the whole audience in not only the power of expressing gratitude but also the logic of doing it now.  It was clear that the message of This Is the Moment resonated with the audience but it was doubly gratifying for me to hear it beautifully modeled within moments following my presentation.

If you had an opportunity to introduce someone who made a significant impact in your life, what would you share with the audience?  What memories would come to mind?  It only takes a few moments to make an impromptu and heartfelt expression of gratitude.

Reach out to someone today and make them center stage.  I’d love to hear your dedication.   Please share them with our gratitude community in the comments section below or share your story confidentially by clicking here .

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Is There Room in Your Organization for Expressions of Gratitude?

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

I couldn’t agree more with Andrew Scharf in his piece entitled, “The Optimism Of Gratitude: Business.” He writes, “In many organizations, focus is given to mistakes or errors made. What this stipulates is that leaders and managers often hone in on what they do not like and drive the errors or mistake into a state culpability.”  As a result, “the firm becomes fixated on problems rather than geared to promoting innovation or out-of-the-box solutions.”

The power of positive acknowledgement in business has been written about from Ken Blanchard’s, The One Minute Manager to the leadership visions of Peter Drucker.   When I was CEO/Chairman of my company with some 1,400 employees, I introduced the concept of “one-on-ones” which provided me the opportunity to meet with individuals two or more reporting levels below me.  I was able to express my gratitude to these people for their specific contributions to the company.

This acknowledgement and personal connection was a real motivator not just because someone was expressing sincere and genuine gratitude but because it came from a level within the organization that was unexpected.  It carried more weight and I believe I got just as much out of the experience as they did.  It was a wonderful way to spend time with the staff and it enriched the level of trust and respect throughout the organization.

When I took my yearlong journey of gratitude that I wrote about in my book, This Is the Moment, I included those people who had influenced my life in and out of business.  I was happy that I did it at this stage even if it was after I had sold the company, but knowing what I know now, I would have made a point to recognize more of my colleagues for their lifetime of influence during the time we worked together.

What practices do you have in place at your organization that promote gratitude and enriches relationships among colleagues and departments?  Please share them with the other readers here in the comments section.  Your idea may be the best thing that could happen to someone else’s organization.

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Winners of February’s Gratitude Contest Share Their Stories – Part 1

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Last month I invited people to share their stories of expressing profound gratitude to people who made a significant impact on their lives and I am so pleased to announce the two winners of February’s Gratitude Contest.

Joan Valley of New Franken, WI

Andy Monfried of Norwood, NJ

Both of our winners have graciously offered to share their stories with us here.  Today I would like to include Joan’s message to a generous colleague.  Andy’s letter to his grandmother will be posted in a follow-up blog, to be published this Thursday, March 10th.

My hope in writing This Is the Moment was that it would ignite sparks of gratitude and in time, who knows, maybe create a wildfire.  I loved Joan’s expression of gratitude to her colleague, Ron, who had made such a difference in her life.  Joan also reached out and found 45 people who also wanted to share their gratitude to Ron, which made this recognition even more special.

Joan Shares Her Story:

“My story on gratitude is centered on someone that I used to teach with.   After I had my first son 13 years ago I was working full-time as a high school teacher.  I have always loved teaching, but I really struggled having to leave my son while I was teaching. Anytime someone would check in and ask how I was doing I would break down and cry.  One day I went to my mailbox at work and there was a cassette program by Brian Tracy in there.  I thought someone put it in my mailbox on accident so I had our secretary post a note in our newsletter asking the staff if this was a mistake to come and see me.  No one responded.  So I listened to these tapes in my car during all my daily travels every single day.  The message that I was hearing in these tapes literally saved me.  This is where Ron comes in.  I suspected he may have done this as an act of kindness knowing how much I was struggling.  He would not admit it, however he smiled in a way that made me know it was him.  He did this knowing I needed it, but did not want credit for it.

That one act was not the only impact Ron made in my life.  We were both teaching the same class so I was fortunate to be able to meet with him every week.  He was so generous with his time.  He would run off all the copies for an upcoming unit for all of the teachers teaching this class and go through everything with us.  More than that, he was always upbeat, positive, optimistic, and happy; I could go on and on.  He would use quotes from Wayne Dyer and other spiritual teachers daily in his classroom.  It was the “quote of the day” on the board and students had to journal about the quote. He was known by staff as Mr. Positive.

After hearing your interview on Hay House with Diane Ray I was motivated while listening to write Ron a letter and let him know how much of a positive influence he had on my life and how much I appreciated him. Ron’s wife of 50 years passed away a few weeks ago so I thought this might lift his spirits a bit.  In addition to my letter I emailed the staff at my school asking for the first word that came to their mind when they thought of Ron.  Ron retired several years ago, but even so I received over 45 emails with a total of 70 words…people had a hard time just using one.  I put them in Wordle http://www.wordle.net/show/wrdl/2823659/RG and created this word cloud for Ron.  I sent all of this to him just this past December.

Thank you for your work Walter.  I am grateful to have heard your interview.  I can’t describe how I felt during the process of writing the letter, collecting the words and so on.  I addition Ron sent me a very thoughtful thank you letter that really meant a lot to me.”

Thank you, Joan.  I am grateful for your story and hope that it may ignite sparks of gratitude in others.

Don’t forget to check in on Thursday, March 10th to read Andy’s letter to his grandmother.  You will be truly inspired.

Mark your calendars – we will be running another contest in May for expressions for gratitude for mothers and grandmothers.  The winners will receive an autographed copy of This is the Moment! and with their permission, be featured in a blog. You have two months to enrich your relationships in a way you never imagined – have a conversation, write a letter, create a video, etc.

How One Journey of Gratitude Changed My Reaction to Life Threatening Moments

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

After I completed my yearlong journey of gratitude described in This is the Moment,  my wife, Lola and I decided to go on a Caribbean cruise. Halfway into the trip, I felt chest pains and saw the ship’s doctor. He discovered that I had an abnormal EKG, and my blood pressure was 50 percent higher than it usually was. Given my father’s early death from a heart attack, I was afraid that I might be following in his footsteps.

Since the next port after the one we were on was a remote island with no hospital or airport, I had to make an immediate decision about what to do. I chose to leave the ship and fly home so that I could consult my own doctors. As it turned out, it was a muscular problem in the chest area, and I’m fine.

This was not the first time I’d had to cut a cruise short. Just two years earlier, Lola and I had embarked upon one in the Mediterranean. A few days into the cruise, I began experiencing what was initially diagnosed as indigestion but which turned out to be a life-threatening strangulated hernia. I had to leave the ship immediately, and I found myself on the island of Corsica, where I knew no one and had no resources. Frankly, I was panicked on top of being seriously ill.

I was overwhelmed by the fear of losing my life, but I had another source of anxiety as well. I knew in my heart and soul that I hadn’t said everything I really wanted to say to those who have mattered in my life.

That experience and my subsequent one in the Caribbean were like before-and-after emotional x-rays. I had two similar circumstances with two very different reactions. On the cruise we took after my year of gratitude, I was no longer overwhelmed by those emotions when faced with a life-or-death situation. I felt peaceful knowing that those significant people unequivocally knew how important they were in my life. Plus, there was an audio recording of our conversation that they could listen to if something happened to me. In turn, I knew how everyone felt about me, and it was as if I’d already been to my own funeral and heard the eulogies.

This sense of completeness was never a part of my intentions for my gratitude journey, but it turned out to be a profound by-product of it. If that peace of mind had been the only outcome, then my journey was worth taking. I came to this epiphany in that moment when I thought my life might possibly end prematurely.

How would you feel about your relationships if you, or someone significant in your life, became seriously ill?  Would you have regret for what was unsaid?  Or would you feel at peace knowing you communicated to those who are important to you how grateful you are for their contributions to your life.

Don’t wait to connect with those people who have impacted your life.  Make a brief list of how one, just one, person made a difference in your life, and reach out to him/her today.  If you aren’t sure how to start or you need help verbalizing your thoughts, download the free guide available at the bottom of this page by simply typing in your email address.

One Single Resolution that Enriches Your Entire Life

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Did you make your list yet?  Have you written them down or are they just percolating in your mind a bit?  How many do you have?  Are they the same ones as last year?

Ahh…. New Year’s Resolutions.

It seems like an annual ritual to think and act upon the ongoing challenges to eat healthier, exercise more, sleep more and take our business or career to the next level.  With each New Year we continue to be hopeful that we will make them all happen.

Would you be willing to make ONE resolution that could enrich many areas of your life?

All you need to do is make one resolution to enrich your relationships.  By expressing profound gratitude to one person –  a member of your family, a friend, a colleague, a client and anyone who has really helped you in your life  can not only elevate your relationship but also provide peace of mind.

Your resolution could be stated as easily as…

I will express explicit gratitude to someone who has made a real difference in my life.

Unlike so many resolutions, this is very doable. Think of a person who has been important to you not just this past year, but over the years.  Your deep gratitude can be expressed in less than an hour and the benefits can last a lifetime.  I believe you will find that after experiencing the positive benefits from doing it to just one person you will decide to do more.  When was the last time you exceeded a New Year’s resolution?

By expressing profound gratitude you will not only enrich your life but the lives of the “receivers” and the people to whom they pay it forward.  Imagine the wonderful year you can create not only for yourself but for others.  The process is easy, it is comfortable and it will make a significant difference in your life.

Do you have any regrets from years gone by?  Most do.  Has someone passed away or drifted out of your life that you wished you could have told him/her what they meant to you?

Make this year different.  Actively give yourself the peace of mind that nothing has gone unsaid to someone, or more, who have been important to you.  Eliminate future regret and have a conversation, send a letter, make a video, record a song or poem…. do it any way that feels right to you.

If you want help in executing this resolution, you can go to the bottom of this page and sign up for your FREE guide to Creating Your Own Gratitude Conversations.

This experience will be a life enhancer of significant value.  In my recently released book, This Is the Moment I provide you with all the tools you need to make this resolution one that you will achieve this coming year and be life changing in the process.

ABC Channel 10 Shares The Making of a Journey of Gratitude

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Sometimes we think a project is too grand and too complicated and these beliefs prevent us from even taking action.  Creating and delivering expressions of gratitude can be as easy as sitting down with a pen and a notepad.

Here’s how you can get started today.

  • Write the name of a person who has influenced your life at the top of the page.
  • Write down simple bullet points of what difference that person made in your life.
  • Deliver your message.  This can be a phone call, a meeting, a letter, a song or a poem.  Do it in your own way.  Make it comfortable for you and for the recipient.

There are a great deal of things that come from expressing your feelings of gratitude towards these people – most of all – peace of mind.   If anything were to happen to you or the other person, there would be nothing left unsaid.

The New Year is a time for reflection on what was wonderful, who made a difference and what changes we would like to make going forward.  That is why the New Year is a perfect time to take action.

Take a moment to watch this interview on ABC about how simple your journey of gratitude can be.

How One Woman Is Impacting Many with Expressions of Gratitude

Friday, December 17th, 2010

I wanted to share with you an encouraging and uplifting report.  I met Brenda at a recent event and her initiative and creativity in helping others capture the power of expressing extraordinary gratitude is heartwarming.  The thoughtfulness of what she has done and the diversity of her audiences is nothing short of amazing.

She is not only “igniting sparks” she is fanning the flames of a potential “wildfire of gratitude.”  With her permission I share her story with you.

I wanted to share my experience with spreading the message of This Is the Moment and hopefully “ignite sparks” in others.  I work as a spiritual consultant at a K-8 school. I am also a counselor for women and children living in a domestic violence shelter, and I volunteer my time teaching youth at my church.

I delivered the message of the importance of expressing gratitude to the 8th grade students yesterday, with the principal present, and she is going to have the students write a letter to a person who has influenced their life and give an oral presentation as their semester exam, based on my presentation of your book. Children find writing their emotions far less daunting than verbalizing their feelings. Understandably; however, if we can encourage children in looking for the positive influence of others, sharing it in a way they are comfortable, I believe they will find it easier to verbalize their feelings as they get older.  The principal shared that she wants to order This is the Moment for each 8th grader student. Just think of the impact!

I also gave the presentation to our youth group at church (young women ages 12-18). I had each of the girl’s teachers write a letter expressing their gratitude toward the girls, and I then gave the girls the assignment of paying it forward by using the gift bag I delivered their letter in to write a letter to someone who has influenced their lives. They will report back in a few weeks and share their experience.

Lastly, I presented to a few women who are victims of domestic violence. I was sensitive to their situation, with the understanding that they may possibly find it difficult at this time of the year to look for positive influences in their lives; however, they loved the message and reported that they were up to the task of sharing their feelings with others who have influenced them. I’ve learned that gratitude has no boundaries.

I believe the antidote to depression, loneliness, and other challenges, is looking for the positive influences in your life, reaching out, softening and opening your heart by expressing gratitude”.

Brenda

It only takes one person to share profound expressions of gratitude that builds momentum and changes lives.  Do you have a story of how expressing gratitude has changed your life and your relationships?  I would love to share it with our gratitude community.  Please submit it here

The Most Personal Holiday Gift that You Hope Gets Re-Gifted

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

What do you buy for those special people in your life?

We struggle for that just-right gift that will show them how much they mean to us, how much we care about them, and we want to give a gift that is from the heart and is personal.

In economic times like these, money is understandably limited for gifts.  There is nothing more special than a personal gift and nothing more personal than an expression of profound gratitude to those who had a major impact on our lives.

This is a gift for all people of any age, all backgrounds and all economic circumstances.  This uncommon approach to gratitude is a way to enrich our lives, enhance our important relationships and achieve peace of mind that can only come from not having regrets for things left unsaid.

In addition, there are several ways to give this “uncommon gift” that will cost a lot less than most people normally spend and the likely impact on the giver and the recipient are far greater than you can imagine.

I encourage you to reach out to the significant people in your life and have a one-on-one connection – in person, on the phone, in a letter – in whichever medium works best for both of you.  Do it your way. If you need assistance with what and how to communicate your profound gratitude, take a look at the last section of my book, This is the Moment or download the Free Guide offered at the bottom of this page by entering your email address.

Expressing extraordinary gratitude to those people who have impacted your life may be your perfect gift this year. The best thing that could happen is that it is re-gifted to someone else – that the receiver shares this wonderful experience with their significant relationships and then they share it, and so on….

Be the first to start the momentum of what will be one of the most rewarding and joyous gifts you have ever given.