Posts Tagged ‘This is the Moment’

You’re Never Too Young for Expressing Gratitude

Monday, October 1st, 2012

One is never too young, or is it ever too soon, when it comes to expressing deep gratitude.

I have had the pleasure to speak with several thousand people since my book, This Is the Moment, was released.

Most often the audiences were comprised of men and women of middle age or older and usually very successful in their professional and personal lives.

My desired outcome of these presentations was to inspire the audience to act on my message of expressing gratitude while everyone was alive and well.  Not only will future regrets be eliminated but the experience will be very gratifying for both the giver and the recipients.  Thousands of people to date confirm exactly that.

The idea then occurred to me.  If it is such a good idea to develop this capacity when one is older, wouldn’t it be even more valuable if one learned this practice earlier in one’s life?

So when the opportunity was given me to speak to teenage students who attended The Elementary Institute of Science in San Diego, I was pleased to do so.

During my presentation, I challenged the students to reach out and express gratitude to just one person who has been really important to them and, if they did, I would love to hear what the experience was like.

Here is some of what they wrote to me after acting on my challenge.

“I could not have survived without my mother.  My mother inspires me to be the best I can be.”

Another said to her grandmother, “I can’t tell you how much you mean to me and what it has meant to me to have you take care of me since I was one year old”.

Another said, “As soon as I expressed to my mother how much she meant to me and my gratitude for her clothing and nurturing me since I was born, I immediately began to think of other people I wanted to express gratitude to.  I felt if I could say those things to my mom, I could say those things to other people”

And one more.  This teenager expressed gratitude for her really good friend who helped her through a really rough time in her life.  The friend was surprised and touched and it strengthened their friendship.

After receiving these letters, I reaffirmed my deep belief that the benefits of expressing gratitude to those who have been really important to us are relevant no matter what our age or demographic.   One is indeed never too young and it is never too soon!!

If you’ve been on the giving or receiving end of an expression of profound gratitude, I’d love to hear your story.  Please share it privately at Share Your Story or publicly in the Comments section below.

Grateful Wife Makes Exceptional Ambassador for Expression of Gratitude

Monday, June 4th, 2012

I had the real pleasure to receive a very special message of gratitude through the Share Your Story page of this website and with permission of the author I am excited to share it with all of you.

Barb Kryke wrote a wonderful letter to her husband, Ron. As you will see by the reprinted version of her message below, expressing profound love and deep gratitude was definitely “within her reach.”  I was touched by her capacity to acknowledge and express the impact her husband has had on her life.

My dearest husband,

I know that first and foremost in all my thoughts, is my gratitude that you have entered my life. You have the greatest soul, modest nature, and the sweetest, most loving heart I have ever known.  I am, and will always be in awe that this meeting of hearts and minds and souls is not coincidental, but a purposeful life brought together by God.

I thank you for showing me how hard I am capable of working, far beyond my wildest dreams. Your encouragement and unending faith in me has now and forever, shaped me as the whole person I dreamed of becoming.  My love, my reverence, my admiration for you, is not measurable by human means and far outreach my ability to express, in words, how incredibly grateful I am that your love for me is perfect.


My warmth,
Your loving wife



When I reached out to Barb to find out more about her experience, she was kind enough to indulge me by answering a couple of questions.

  1. What did it feel like to express this profound gratitude to your husband?

I was moved by my own words. I am, by nature, reflective and use each morning and night to breathe in my good fortune. I am blessed to have the ability to express my gratitude for my husband, daughters, friends and 7th grade students.

  1. Do you have a sense of what it meant to him?

Ron texted me, “You brought me tears of joy with your letter of gratitude.  I adore you.” I guess that says it all.

Barb is indeed blessed on so many levels. My hope is that everyone reading this will be inspired by Barb’s story and will reach out to a significant relationship and express profound gratitude.

I would be honored if you shared your story here on this website.  Simply go to Share Your Story and send me a message.

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.

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)

Mentee and Mentor Express Gratitude After 23 years

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

For many of us we have been blessed to have great teachers, influencers and mentors in our lives.  They helped shape who we are, what career paths we took and what we gave back to our communities.  We think of them often, recounting lessons and laughter, and our intention is to reconnect if for no other reason than to thank them for being in our lives at what turned out to be the perfect time.  Time goes by – months, years and decades and our good intentions stay with us but we don’t always act on them.

Twenty-three years ago a colleague and friend of mine, Christine was a senior English major in college and was spending her last semester student teaching at Milton Hershey High School in Pennsylvania.  Her supervising teacher on staff was Jim Cudworth who was in his twelfth year of teaching and would go on to spend his entire thirty-three year teaching career at Milton Hershey.

After she graduated and moved across the country to California, Christine stayed in contact with Jim through handwritten letters but their correspondence fell off after a couple of years.   She thought of Jim often, especially when his lessons were in the forefront of her mind during various life experiences.  She always had the intention to reconnect with him but never reached out.

After reading my book, This is the Moment! Christine was inspired to not let any more time pass to set her intentions into action.  She did all of the modern techniques to try to find Jim – she Googled him, looked him up on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, all with no success.  She would often give up her search temporarily and then try again a few weeks later.  After a couple of months of this routine, she finally did an online search for Jim and his wife and stumbled upon a funeral notice for his wife’s mother that took place more than a year ago.  Within the announcement it listed Jim, his wife and the town where they were now living in Pennsylvania.  As she tells the story, “I decided to go old-school and actually pick up the phone.  I called 411 and asked for his phone number based on the town of record in the announcement.”  She did not hesitate and dialed the number immediately.  His wife answered and she explained that he was out on a bike ride and she was happy to give him a message.

Christine began with, “Well, he probably doesn’t remember me but I was his student teacher in 1987-88.” To that Jim’s wife responded, “Oh I am sure he remembers you.” Christine thought that was a very kind thing to say but she was not completely convinced he would remember her.

That evening Jim called her back.  He started the conversation with a comment that made Christine’s heart fill with the warmth only a good friend can provide, no matter how much time has passed.  “Of course I remember you I have been quoting you for 23 years.”  Jim explained that some of Christine’s observations during their few months working together had made such an impact on him that he not only remembered the lessons she taught him, but used her words to share them with his colleagues for the last two decades.

That first conversation lasted two hours and it was filled with each of them taking turns sharing fun stories, lessons learned and tremendous gratitude for what each one of them meant and still means to one another.  Just the simple act of retelling a story provided new insights into how grateful they were to have been involved in each other’s lives at just the right time.

As it turned out both Jim and Christine had regrets for things unsaid, paths not taken and correspondence not maintained.  Within hours of their phone call long emails were exchanged and although they live 3,000 miles away from each other, a date has already been set to reconnect during Christine’s next East Coast trip in less than a month.

This is a heartwarming and very common story that occurs between a mentor and a mentee.  We often believe the mentor’s role is to teach and impart wisdom on behalf of the mentee.  However, what we don’t always realize and acknowledge is the influence the mentee has to bring forth new observations, fresh ideas and in Christine and Jim’s case, a shared sense of humor that lighten even the toughest days in the classroom.

Thankfully it was not too late for Christine to share with Jim what a tremendous impact he made on her life and how grateful she was to him for all of the lessons (professionally and personally) he taught her.

We all have good intentions to reconnect and share our gratitude – what is stopping you?  Where is the hesitation coming from?  Remember, hesitation is just one step from taking action.  Start searching for that long-lost mentee or mentor.  Don’t experience the pain of regret that comes from waiting too long to reach out. Do it today!

I feel blessed that Christine shared her story with me.  If you have a similar story about expressing profound gratitude to someone who has impacted your life, please click on the Share Your Story page of this website and send me the details.  I would love to hear it and with your permission, share it on the This is the Moment! blog.

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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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