It was March 9th, 2016. I was driving down Franklin Blvd. in Gastonia and I received the call. It was from a blocked number but for some reason I answered. And I heard a very familiar British accent. The voice said “This is Simon Sinek.” Most of my friends knew Simon was my idol. So my immediate response was “Shut up, who is this?” He repeated that it was Simon Sinek. And I was now in shock.
We had a short but amazing conversation. Simon called simply to thank me for the letter I wrote him. He said how much it inspired him. And that’s the reason why he does what he does.
If you are unfamiliar with Simon. Look him up. His TED Talk, “How great leaders inspire action” is the second most popular Ted Talk in the world. His books “Start with Why,” “Leaders Eat Last,” and “Together is Better” are revolutionary books on leadership.
But the point of this post is not to brag about my talk with Simon. It’s to share the power of thank you. And most importantly, the Thank You Experiment.
It started on January 1st, 2016. Shortly after I chose the word Care to be my “One Word” for the year. I knew I needed something to keep me focused on caring every day. So I decided I would do the thank you experiment and write a handwritten thank you letter every day for the year.
It changed my life. I wrote to former teachers, coaches, long lost friends, authors, restaurant servers, business leaders, musicians. Anyone who I truly appreciated. And anyone who made an impact on my life. No matter how small or how big that impact was.
I wasn’t looking for anything in return. I just wanted to let these people know that I cared.
What happened next? I could have never imagined. It became one of the most meaningful things in my life.
The connections and relationships I’ve developed are stronger now than ever before. And all because of a simple thank you letter.
Sometimes the greatest things in life start with just an experiment.
For me, it’s no longer an experiment. It’s a part of my life every day.
What started with just one letter has now grown to be more than 600. But the key was to just start. Once you start, the gratitude never stops growing.
If you were to start today, who would you thank? It all begins by writing it down.