How Natural Disasters Can Make Us More Grateful

natural disaster photo

 

The Kincade fire was in the national news for awhile now, and there have been many other fires in California and other countries since then. My area in the Santa Cruz Mountains lost power for five days in October. Although I’d never wish a power outage or the fear and anxiety that goes along with a fire on anyone, I’m very grateful for what I do have. Maybe you are, too.

 photo

Fires, Earthquakes, and Power Outages

With so much going on all around us, water, electricity, and a place to live are so appreciated. We take so much for granted. When the basics are taken away from us, it’s different. Right now, we’re all watching Australia’s fires and seeing how much people and animals there are suffering. Evacuations have become more commonplace because of climate change. The days are hotter, and the weather is more unreliable.

By the way, you might like How to Use Gratitude to Empower Your Social Media Campaign.

monarch butterflies photo

Let’s Not Get Used to it

I’m not saying we ought to get used to natural disasters–not at all. But so little separates us from people who’ve gone through natural disasters. We can reach out to others, as well as have empathy, and take steps to avoid some parts of climate change. By “some parts,” I mean that it’s not all our personal responsibility. Some of it does belong to governments and corporations, which we can influence. Some of the changes I’ve been seeing have been astonishing. Jane Fonda has been getting arrested, along with other celebrities, for her civil disobedience on climate change. Seeing celebrities doing the right thing is inspirational.

climate activists photo

Gratitude for What We Can Do

We all have personal power, and we can use that power to influence others. Not everyone has the same influence (Jane Fonda is already famous, for instance), but everyone can do something. For my part, I can become a steward of the land that surrounds me. I can also donate to those who have gone through climate emergencies.

Some of my favorite organizations are:

Gratitude for Those Who Inspire

There are also individuals who inspire us along the way. Of course, the incomparable Greta Thunberg has inspired people of all generations, not just teenagers. There are so many heroes in our every day lives that don’t make the news. People who run the land trusts, nonprofits who care for sick and injured animals, and firefighters are all inspiring.

Little Changes Add up

Like the plot of the movie Moneyball, small changes in strategy can add up to big changes. You might not focus on getting home runs, but on getting on base every time like they did in Moneyball. Little things you do or I do every day can also add up to big changes in our feelings of gratitude. What are you grateful for?

 

friends photo

How to Use Gratitude to Empower Your Social Media Campaign

Thanksgiving is undoubtedly my favorite holiday. Being surrounded by friends and family, eating and drinking and giving thanks. Who can argue with turkey and gravy and friendship? Nobody, that’s who! How does gratitude tie in with your social media campaign? Read on to see!

LIGHT WORK photo

Gratitude Marketing

Gratitude marketing can boost your customers, followers, and just plain feels good. Every time you thank someone for sharing something of yours, buying your product, or simply being supportive, that’s gratitude. Done regularly, gratitude marketing attracts other like-minded people. There have even been studies done about the effectiveness of gratitude marketing. See Duct Tape Marketing’s The Power of Gratitude in Marketing, for instance. And I like the idea of a hand-written card or note. Hardly anyone sends hand-written notes anymore.

 photo

Social Media and Gratitude

As part of your social media campaign, I highly recommend thanking people for sharing, for retweets, and for following you and your pages. After all, they have a choice not to. You probably have die-hard fans who like what you do no matter what. These are the people you need to thank regularly. And beyond thanking them, how about giving them a little or a big gift every once in a while? By the way, you might like How to Develop and Unlock a Tremendous Gratitude Muscle, by moi. You could start with ten things you’re grateful for in your business, and take it from there.

grateful photo

Be Grateful During the Tough Times

This month has been a little tough. It’s important, in my opinion, to be grateful even during hard times. We haven’t had power or WiFi for a few days during October, so working is harder. I’m writing these words from a friend’s house, and it’s easy to fall into the habit of feeling sorry for myself or feeling angry. But I’m grateful that we still have a gas stove for cooking, a good heater, and a car to go shopping. And although it’s inconvenient, I’m hopeful that we can figure something out going into the future. And if you want more reasons to be grateful, check out 31 Benefits of Gratitude: The Ultimate Guide. There are some surprising reasons, including that people will like you more if you’re grateful.

freedom photo

Choose to Believe that People Are Good

Most friends, family, and coworkers have been extremely kind during this tough time of no power and no WiFi, and very understanding. People have offered places to work, and said not to worry about their social media. And for that I’m very grateful. Of course, there are people who will take advantage of a bad situation, but they seem to be in the minority. The main reason I choose to believe people are good is that believing the opposite can make you crazy. That is, you might be paranoid thinking that bad people are out to get you or steal from you. Looking over your shoulder all the time is no way to live.

customer photo

Gratitude Strategy

Do you have a gratitude strategy? There are many reasons you need one. And they’re all outlined in this post: Gratitude Strategy: How to Develop One and Why You Need One. So since tomorrow is November, how about starting or restarting a gratitude practice?

customer photo

Thank You

If I haven’t said it lately, thank you to all the readers of my blog! Especially those who’ve stuck with me through thick and thin. You are very much appreciated.

Quick And Easy Ways to Incorporate Thankfulness Every Day

Quick And Easy Ways to Incorporate Thankfulness Every Day

Quick And Easy Ways to Incorporate Thankfulness Every Day

Quick And Easy Ways to Incorporate Thankfulness Every Day

Today is Thanksgiving, and it’s easy to forget to thank people on the other days of the year. Here are a few reminders that have helped me to remember, along with why gratitude is a wonderful practice every day.

bouquet photo

Helps You Remember How You Got Where You Are

Do you remember who showed you how to tie your shoes? Or who showed you how to drive a stick shift, if you’re someone who knows how? How about the person who taught you how to type? Remembering who taught you those valuable lessons might make you get into the WayBack Machine(tm), since they probably happened so long ago. What about more recent lessons? How to make a favorite dish, for instance? Someone had to patiently explain how to grate cheese, mix the noodles, and put everything in the oven. In my case, that was my mom. I learned a lot about cooking from her, and I’ll always be grateful to her. How do you express your gratitude? You might like to read about how to keep a gratitude journal.

california road map photo

Gratitude Makes You Happy

Do you believe that giving thanks makes you a happier person? I certainly do, and so do the folks at Harvard Medical School. Here’s a quote from their article Giving thanks can make you happier:

“Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible.”

Sometimes just acknowledging a little act of kindness can go a long way towards that grateful feeling. Recently, here in Northern California, we’ve seen the horrific natural disaster of the Camp Fire. We’ve also seen so many people go out of their way to help people, and sometimes those people aren’t able to thank anyone. But we can thank people, such as the first responders who were there on the scene (many still are as I write this).

dinner table photo

Shows You That You’re Not Alone

Sometimes when you’re counting your blessings you realize that others have similar problems. Do you have eyes to see with and ears to hear with? I love Louie Schwartzberg’s wonderful TED Talk about gratitude, in which he says to open your heart to the universe. Sometimes you may realize that people are much worse off because they don’t even have a roof over their heads or a safe place to sleep. Even though the air is terrible right now in California, most of us are safe. We can help people who have been through disasters and feel grateful for our own luck at the same time. A gratitude practice doesn’t erase all the negative from your life, but it does show you that you’re not alone.

You can thank the universe for basic things like good health, fresh water to drink, electricity, or technology, such as the internet or .gifs! Because why not?

dinner table photo

Magnify Those Positive Emotions

Do you want to feel happier for longer? Who doesn’t, right? Thanking people makes you feel just that. Notice when you thank someone or feel gratitude for something how good you feel afterwards, and how your mood can change without your doing much of anything.

dinner table photo

How Do You Incorporate Thankfulness?

Do you have a gratitude practice? Have you ever considered having one? Leave me a comment! And thank you!

At the Intersection of Social Media and Gratitude

 

At the Intersection of Social Media and Gratitude

I’ve been thinking about gratitude more lately. Partly that’s because there’s so much negativity in the world right now, and especially in politics. Facebook, in particular, has been very negative, with depressing stories being shared more than ever.

Social Media Affects Your Mental Health

There are numerous articles and studies about how social media affects your mental health, including this one from Forbes: 6 Ways Social Media Affects Our Mental Health. The article’s author Alice G. Walton states “Rather than enhancing well-being, as frequent interactions with supportive ‘offline’ social networks powerfully do, the current findings demonstrate that interacting with Facebook may predict the opposite result for young adults—it may undermine it.”

One Person Can Make a Difference

Do you believe that? Because I do. If there’s too much negativity out there, why not counter it with something positive. As you’re tooling around your social media sites, why not leave a few kind, considerate thoughts for someone else?

Say Thank You–It’s Not That Tough!

Seriously, thank the people who’ve helped you. Maybe you can’t always retweet them or post something of theirs, but say thank you if it’s at all feasible. If you’re a big brand, occasionally issue a blanket thank you for everyone’s sharing an article. Or have a customer appreciation day. If you’re a non-profit, you can thank people publically, give shoutouts to those who helped the most, thank volunteers and donors, etc.

Gratitude Has Many Benefits

There have been many studies about the benefits of gratitude. As you might see in this article The 31 Benefits of Gratitude, the benefits can be emotional, and can affect your personality, career, or social life. And gratitude can affect your happiness, too. Have you read my previous post about having a gratitude strategy? You might like it.

What’s Your Gratitude Strategy?

Do you have one? Why or why not? Leave me a comment–I’d be very grateful if you did!

 

 

Social Media: Quick and Easy Ways to Pay it Forward

Social Media: Quick and Easy Ways to Pay it Forward

Social Media: Quick and Easy Ways to Pay it Forward

We’ve all heard the phrase pay it forward by now. And during November, when we’re thinking about Thanksgiving, it’s an easy one to consider. There are lots of simple ways to pay it forward. Here are just a few. By the way, you might like last week’s post: How to Keep a Gratitude Journal and Why.

happiness photo

Be Generous First

Give to others first. Giving first makes you feel good, whether or not others give back to you. Although it’s tempting to only give to others who can give back, the biggest need is those who can’t. Being generous on social media doesn’t always mean a retweet, it can mean connecting two people who might have something in common, as this article Beat Generosity Burnout outlines. However, you might want to have some boundaries around how much you give. Selflessness and generosity aren’t synonymous.

the garden photo

Money in the Bank

Having some “money in the bank” means that sometimes you can withdraw a little, too. But you’ve got to put money in before you can take a withdrawal. A lot of people seem to start out by getting a credit card, so to speak, and withdrawing as much as possible. You’ve seen those people: “retweet this!” “Join me!” And the pervasive problem of direct messages asking for business before there’s a relationship. Also, there is a Science of Generosity, with generous people feeling happier and less depressed.

friends photo

Share, Share, Share

So here are some things you can do quickly and easily. Generosity doesn’t have to mean a huge price tag or a lot of time. Obviously, you can do more, but you can also give a little.

  • Retweet articles
  • Comment on other people’s posts
  • Repost requests with no thought of your own gain
  • Offer to help
  • Give financial assistance

giving photo

Generosity and Your Gratitude Muscle

One interesting from the finding of a study on generosity was that you must have a regular practice, and not give to something just once in order to be happier. So developing a gratitude muscle is tremendously important.

the plan photo

How Do You Pay it Forward on Social Media?

Do you have a plan? I’d love to know! And I’d love if you left a comment!

Gratitude Strategy: How to Develop One and Why You Need One

 

Gratitude Strategy: How to Develop One and Why You Need One

Gratitude Strategy: How to Develop One and Why You Need One

Gratitude Strategy

The Law of Attraction fascinates me. When I first heard about it, it sounded so, well, dumb for lack of a better word. How could gratitude change anything? How could a positive feeling change someone’s luck or business? And yet, after incorporating gratitude into my personal life and then professional life, it has changed everything.

Just because you don’t know how something works, doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.

Daily Gratitude

Daily Gratitude

Daily Gratitude

I must admit, I’ve been out of the habit of daily gratitude. I’ve had to restart it. However, it’s easy enough to do! Simply start listing things you’re grateful for. Pick a small number at first, say three. And if you’re a cynic, welcome to the club! In fact, here’s a post I wrote about being a gratitude marketing cynic.

It's Easy to Dwell on the Negative

It’s Easy to Dwell on the Negative

It’s Easy to Dwell on the Negative

It’s easy to focus on the negative: the bad waitress who insulted your mother at the mediocre restaurant. The person who cut you off in traffic. The stupidity of politics. All these things–and many more–can easily weigh you down and make you feel bad.

Three Small Things

Three Small Things

Three Small Things

A practice I really like is very simple: focus on three small things that went right every day. Simply write down the small things that went well in as much detail as possible. Here are more details, from Three Good Things: Practice. It’s like meditation.

Here are three of mine from today:

  • The red-headed woodpecker that showed up at the birdfeeder
  • The ability of the garbage truck driver to back up all the way down our steep hill
  • Robust health
The Savoring Walk

The Savoring Walk

The Savoring Walk

While we’re on the subject of meditation, the savoring walk is a way to notice the things immediately around you and feel gratitude for them. Rather than going to an exotic location (or wishing you were somewhere else), noticing what’s directly in front of you can make you savor those little things you might see every day and overlook.

Thank You, Version 2.0

We’ve all been taught to say thank you. But how do you say thank you? Is it a short text message? I’d like to put forth the idea that a letter is a wonderful way to thank someone, as Val Vesa put forth in a recent chat. And if it’s handwritten? So much the better. By the way, here’s an article about developing some gratitude muscle that you might like.

cross walking photo

Do You Have a Gratitude Strategy?

I would love to hear about it. Really! Leave me a comment and I’ll be very grateful.

How to Develop and Unlock a Tremendous Gratitude Muscle

How to Develop and Unlock a Tremendous Gratitude Muscle

How to Develop and Unlock a Tremendous Gratitude Muscle

 

People have written countless blog posts, articles, and books about gratitude marketing, being thankful for those who mentor us, and loving those around us. But is gratitude more than something we think about on Thanksgiving Day? Hopefully, yes.

Start with 10

Start with Ten

If you’ve never tried gratitude before, start with writing down ten things that you’re grateful for. Go on. I’ll wait. Then write another sentence about each of those first ten things. For example, let’s say you’re grateful to your mom. Well, of course you are. She gave birth to you. What other things did she do for you? She probably protected you. Maybe she made you cookies or helped you with homework. If you have trouble with this exercise, here are 100 Things to Be Thankful For, from Real Simple magazine.

exercise photo

Strengthen the Muscle Daily

Here’s a great article: The 7 Habits of Grateful People. I like that one about mindfully using social media. And being grateful every single day, even for the little things. Do you appreciate your pillow? Having clean air and water (actually pretty big things when you think about it). How about your pet hedgehog?

baby animal photo

List Some Unexpected Things

You may not even realize what you have until you look around and see what someone else doesn’t have. How about that roof over your head? How about your health? What about being able to breathe? Having your vision? You get the idea!

laughter photo

Gratitude Journal

A gratitude journal lets you track, and, as you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), you may think of even more things to be grateful for. You might want to add pictures. You might want to set up a secret board in Pinterest to keep a visual reminder of what makes you grateful. Here’s a Pinterest primer if you need to get started!

Letters of Gratitude

Reconnecting with old friends through letters is a perfect way to flex that gratitude muscle. How many times do we spend an hour just telling someone how wonderful, inspiring, and intelligent someone is? And sending a handwritten note is becoming more and more rare, according to this article from Harvard Business Review: Handwritten Notes Are a Rare Commodity: They’re Also More Important Than Ever. If you’re thinking of picking up your pen again, after a hiatus, handwritten letters are also a very good way to reconnect with yourself, besides creating a deeper connection with long-lost friends.

laughter photo

What Are You Grateful For?

When you get more specific with what you’re grateful for, you might be able to think of even more things. For instance, not just your car, but that your car gets 45 miles per gallon and does 75 mph downhill with a tailwind. (Well, that’s my car!) Are you one of the 25% of people who name their car? I’m surprised that the number is so low.

Thank You!

To the readers of my blog, I thank you. I appreciate the comments and your taking the time to read my words.

Gratitude Marketing: Spotlight on a Social Cynic

Gratitude Marketing: Spotlight on a Social Cynic

Gratitude Marketing: Spotlight on a Social Cynic

This year has been a mixed bag, both in terms of business and the political scene. On the one hand, business is up. On the other hand, people’s expectations are higher than ever. The election has created a country divided, with many unable to disagree in a civil manner.

What’s in it for me?

The atmosphere in the country right now seems to be “I’ve got mine–too bad for you.” There is a divisiveness to conversations on social media, with people unfriending, arguing, and a lot of spewing and venting. And it’s funny that while writing these words, I keep imagining what Andy Roony would say. I don’t think he’d be happy about what’s happening.

happy photo

Why Focus on Gratitude?

Mike Sciortino, who wrote a book and trademarked “Gratitude Marketing®”  had this to say,

“Traditional Marketing speaks at people. Gratitude Marketing® engages and connects with people. When you combine relationship-building with consistent nurturing, you create clients for life.”

Thinking of customers first is one of the hallmarks of a successful business. So maybe Gratitude Marketing is an old-fashioned idea, successfully repackaged. And it’s certainly an idea that Baby Boomers and others can take to heart.

A Leap of Faith

Personally, I think we need all the positivity and gratitude and beauty we can get right now. As tough as it may be to have that focus, it’s critical to move forward. We all need to assume that other people are good. Most of them, anyway. And we need to find ways to engage in a civil way. It seems simplistic, but peace really is every step, as Thich Nhat Hanh states. When he talks about “deep listening,” that it can create transformation and healing, could that not also be applied to our business lives?

 happy photo

Twitter Influencers: Deciding Who to Follow

Twitter Influencers: Deciding Who to Follow

Twitter Influencers: Deciding Who to Follow

So you’ve decided to become influential, eh? Your latest mission statement proclaims that you will be the King of Twitter, with a Klout score of 75 bajillion, and Starbucks will name a new drink after you. You’re deconstructing each tweet and how it affects your target audience, testing it, agonizing over each word, and tracking who retweets it based on complex algorithms and spreadsheets in order to attract the “appropriate” audience with the perfect hashtags. Is that the best route to take to become an influencer, though? Here’s my take. If you want to learn how to get more followers, that’s a whole other blog post.

Don’t Be That Guy

Have you ever been talking to someone at a party and had them look over your shoulder scanning the room to see if someone “better” had just entered?  How did that make you feel? Then, when they realized that you were the the best friend of the mayor, they suddenly became your best friend? Gary Vaynerchuk says it really well in his video! Everybody is relevant.

You Don’t Know Who They Know

So here’s a for instance. Let’s take me as an example. Because I’ve done lots of work for people in the trades, I know a million people in construction. Well, maybe a billion, actually. There’s a construction company, who will remain nameless, who refuses to follow me back because he believes I’m not part of his target audience. And yet, I live within 10 miles of his company, have many connections to people in construction, and ghost tweet for three companies in the trades. But none of my social media profiles says that I’m in construction. If he made the least effort to reach out, he could make connections to many more people. But since he won’t follow or engage with me, I’m not inclined to retweet his material or lift a finger to help him.

People Have Multiple Profiles

That “little account” that you refuse to take seriously may be responsible for an account with a million followers. They could know someone who works at the exact place where you’d like to apply for a job. They could be best friends with your mom, for all you know. So why not be respectful to everyone?

The Second Chess Move in Life

The Second Chess Move in Life

The Second Chess Move in Life

As Gary Vee says, if you open yourself up to people who are not your exact target audience, if you reach out and say hello to people and stop “strategizing” and act like a human being, you’ll find your exact right audience.

Gratitude

Instead of following someone based on their Klout score, how many followers they have, or whether they have the best hashtag, how about this? Follow based on conversations with others, whether they have interesting opinions, or if you have something in common. And then how about feeling grateful for the followers you do have? And by the way, here is my very favorite TedxSF talk: Louis Schwartzberg on gratitude.

How Do You Decide Who to Follow?

Is engaging with the “right” people important to you? How has that helped your cause?

 

 

Beyond the Magic Words: 8 Ways to Say Thank You!

Beyond the Magic Words: 8 Ways to Say Thank You

Beyond the Magic Words: 8 Ways to Say Thank You

You already know what the magic words are, right? That’s right: please and thank you! Baby boomers, in particular, seem adept at knowing how to thank people. Depending upon why you’re grateful, you could decide to send any of the following.

Personal Email

A customized and personal email is a quick way to say thank you. People really do love to be appreciated, and this is a way to go beyond the basic thank you. You could add a photo of something you know the person really likes, too. Are they crazy about pygmy goats? Send ’em a pic!

An Ecard

Include a picture of something your friend likes

Include a picture of something your friend likes

An ecard might include a picture of something your friend likes–such as a cup of espresso with a lemon twist, a microbrewed beer, or a nerdy hat. Or how about a gift card to that special brewery you visited together?

Poetry

A cute or funny poem adds an element of surprise and delight! You may find that no one has ever written a poem for your friend. Be sure to include details that you especially like and why you are appreciative. For bonus points, add alliteration and rhyming.

Photographs

How about a flattering photo of your friend or a photo of the two of you together? If you know your friend pretty well, then a slightly embarrassing one is even better! Like that photobomb from the Giants game–the one where, um…mistakes were made? Or the belly flop into the deep end of the pool? Oh, yes.

A Small Gift

Most people appreciate a cup of coffee or gift card. If you can find out where your friend likes to go, that would be even more personal. But don’t hold off sending a gift because you don’t have all the details yet! And **gasp** you could even ask them what they like! But be cagey when you ask; don’t tell them why you need to know!

Flowers

Flowers are a turbo-charged form of thank you. Most people love flowers (hint, hint), and some people rarely get them. To make them more special, find out what your friend’s favorite colors or types of flowers are. Home-grown purple roses? Bright red tulips? Yellow chrysanthemums? If you don’t know, you might match their eye color or the color they wear a lot.

Jewelry

Jewelry is still more personal. A bracelet or necklace make very sweet gifts. Some jewelry, though, can be fraught with romantic overtones–unless you are very confident that the giver wants to receive the jewelry, it’s best to save this for a very special relationship. Unless you like being in trouble, that is.

Gift Basket

For a client, or for a big milestone event, personalized gift baskets are fab. You might send fruit or baked products from your area. Anything scented is more difficult, unless you already know what your friend likes.

How Do You Like to Be Thanked?

Do you remember a particularly good gift? What made it so memorable? Please let me know in the comments!

 

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On PinterestVisit Us On YoutubeVisit Us On LinkedinCheck Our Feed