Today’s podcast is with John Israel, who started the Mr. Thank You project sending out 5 Thank You cards a day for one year.


John talks about his experience doing this project and what resulted from it as well as some of the roots of the project.  You can find out more at his website, and you can find his book, Mr. Thank You on Amazon.


Here are some highlights of the interview.  You can watch the full version on YouTube.




Tasha:  Alright John, thank you so much. Can I call you John or do I have to call you Mr. Thank You?


John:  You can call me John, John’s good.


Tasha:  John. Okay well John, thank you so much for being on our podcast today. For those of you that are listening, John is Mr. Thank You. There’s no way my explanation is going to be as good as your explanation. So I will just ask you to share with everybody what is the Mr. Thank You project?


John:  Yeah, so the Mr. Thank You project started in October of 2016, and so what I do professionally is I am a gratitude salesman:  I work in the corporate gifting world. So I work for Cutco Cutlery. Many you guys have heard of them, it’s a direct sales product and I’ve been with a brand for 16 years, and I evolved into the closing gift division where I basically sell large scale amounts of gifts to real estate agents, mortgage professionals. And so, literally, I help people say thank you for a living.


It’s been my life for a long time now and what happened was in about September of 2016 I kind of hit this peak and also this moment, sort of, desperation where I was doing well, but I was also just overworking myself and it wasn’t very fulfilled. And so I was really trying to find a way to align my values with my business and so I said I’m this guy who’s all about gratitude and appreciation and whatnot, but if you were to ask a hundred people who know John Israel, what do you know about him? They might say some great stuff like driven or successful, but I don’t think the word grateful, maybe even happy, would be a word that they’d used to describe me. So I thought that was inconsistent. So I sought out some type of project. I love projects, something for a year that I can take on that will allow me to grow and, specifically, I decided what can I do for a year to help me elevate my level of gratitude? I’m this gratitude guy, how do I be consistent with that?


So out of some research and reflection on experiences of my life, I thought well what if I just committed to writing thank you cards every day for a year? And I thought, well how much should I write? Should I write one a day, two a day? One a day didn’t seem like enough. 10 felt like too much, I don’t think they’d be very good. So I thought about five. Five would be a really interesting commitment, like what might happen in my life if I was committed to writing five thank you cards every day for an entire year? And that’s basically what it started out as, and I did that starting October 10th 2016, ran with that for an entire year.


So I wrote 1,825 thank you cards in 365 days, which sounds even absurd saying right now, but it was life-changing and really positively benefited my business, my influence; I was really surprised on how that affected my community and my influence in my community. And a lot of really interesting things showed up out of it. What the Mr. Thank You project evolved into, because I don’t know if we’ll talk about it here, but, unexpectedly, it got me on the news, like Fox News and ABC News heard about it. They interviewed me and I’m like, “Man, I’m just this guy who is writing thank you cards, like I don’t know why this is such a big deal.” But I think it just kind of landed for people in the capacity in which I was doing it.


We got a lot of feedback from people who love the mission, love the idea, and wanted to start their own Mr. Thank You project and started writing one thank you card a day, or three a day, or had some really interesting stories from just readers and listeners. And so we started the Mr. Thank You project, which on the large scale is to inspire 74 million thank you cards written around the world, which is effectively 1% of the world’s population.


I just remember as a kid, someone shared a story about what could affect 1% of the world and they were talking about it more of a negative way, like collective neglect. How when we don’t care about people and how that affects others. I thought, “Well, what about the opposite? What if we could do something in the other realm where if we affected 1% of the population in a good way, what might happen?” And that’s what the Mr. Thank You project is now, and so I speak a lot and share the stories of what happened for me that year and inspire people to write more thank you cards. It’s pretty fun.


Tasha:  Awesome, so I have a list of questions.


John:  Sure, let’s do it.


T:  Ranging from super ethereal to like very detailed, like execution questions.


J:  Sure.


T:  So one that just came to mind as you were sharing and, like I told you before, I feel like I should say this publicly:  I’m super grateful for you as well, for you and Monica. And just I want to applaud you for the courage of going public with something like this, because I’m a big fat chicken, and I just want to let you know that your work has inspired me not to be so chicken. Since I read your stupid book I’ve actually been telling people I’m going to work more on my book. So thanks a lot for that.  🙂


J:  Mm. 🙂


T:  So maybe I’m not grateful to you, I don’t know.


J:  I’m making you work, making you work for it girl!


T:  The other day Karen (Your Leadership Foundation co-founder and Emerge Sales Coach) and I did a video on this question. Does success lead to happiness or does happiness lead to success? Your thoughts Mr. Thank You.


J:  Yeah, that’s a great question, and I think that in a lot of people’s minds. I was pretty successful, and I think really success ultimately comes down to your definition of it, because if you fit, it then you’re successful and you feel good; and if you don’t, then you’re not in your own eyes, but other people can have their own opinions.


So for me success, the more I’ve learned about it, the more I’ve accomplished, the more sales goals I’ve hit, the more I’ve learned is that the destination never is as fulfilling as you think it is.


It’s exciting and it’s always just like a cool, we’re here, now what? And so the more that my life has evolved over the 16 years of being a Sales Professional, the more I’ve just looked at how do I align my values with everything I do, such that when I’m in activity I’m feeling fulfilled in the moment. Because I see I’m consistent with my values, not just a goal. Like there’s always a goal, like there’s always a sales number, there’s always something to strive for and that’s really where I think the Mr. Thank You project came into play was not like, how can I actually enjoy this time? How can I enjoy my life and my business, rather than just doing a task every day and picking up the phone and calling another prospect.


So that’s what I would say is success to me looks more like honoring your values in everything you do so you feel alive while you’re doing it.


T:  Yeah, I love what you have to say about values. Tell me more about why you think that’s so important.


J:  Specific to values or specific to gratitude?


T:  I don’t know if it matters, like we talk about like even the intro of this podcast is we teach network markers how to improve their sales and sales leadership skills while being a good human. That’s kind of our tagline, like this concept of can you be in sales AND be a good human?


J:  Right, yeah.


T:  Thoughts on that?


J:  Yeah, I think that to make sales transparent is to bring the humanness to it, and I would say that with the Mr. Thank You project that’s probably one of the best things it did for me as a sales person was it was no longer salesperson versus customer, right? Two sides of the spectrum. It was like human being and human being interacting and the more often there’s a deeper level of trust there, the easier sales come.


There’s a great book called The Closers 2 by Ben Gay III and he is a fun guy to follow on social media, but a friend told me about that book back when I was a young Cutco sales rep, about 20 years old. And he talked about this philosophy of sales infiltration, which sounds bad but what it means is building such a high level of trust with another person that they don’t even ask you about price anymore, they just trust you to charge them whatever you believe is right to give them a product they’re going to value and enjoy.


T:  Yeah, I love that.


J:  And that was so powerful because then I saw okay well, how do I do that? How do you build such a great connection with somebody and I think it comes from just by being the most authentic version of yourself. So for me, gratitude is a real core value of myself and in my business and so for me, honoring that value is important and it’s just being consistent. I think there’s a higher level of trust with what you say and what you implement and what people see. So it’s kind of like if someone’s selling fitness products, but they’re out of shape.


T:  Mm-hmm.


J:  It’s like are you really honoring that value that you think other people should honor? They’re going to honor it based on how they see you act and I think that’s what’s important with whatever your values are, that they’re really lived as an expression in what you do.


T:  I love that. Thanks so much for sharing, that was awesome. May pause in the profoundness of it all.


I think there are a couple of challenges that our audience have in being leaders or being in sales in their network marketing business. Is it cool if I throw a couple questions at you, get your thoughts?


J:  Absolutely.


T:  All right so one, is client retention and I know that’s something that’s really important to you. So in network marketing, we don’t want to just make the one sale, we want people to be able to go over, like continues come back over and over again. I admit that I don’t have it down on this. I mean I understand it from a customer perspective, because when I was selling Cutco, I was just like here’s your homemaker set. Have a nice lifetime, right, or whatever.


J:  Right, yeah.


T:  I mean this was almost 20 years ago, I know that the company has evolved since then. So what ideas do you have and how does this, specific to gratitude or not specific to gratitude on retaining customers? So I know that’s something you’re really good at.


J:  Yeah, so client retention is really kind of at the heart of what we do. So take our business out of it with respect to yes, we sell gifts to businesses and the people to give away. What we’re really about is keeping clients continuing to order. I mean, that’s what every business wants. It’s not about the order, it’s about the repeat order, and the residual and all that comes with it. And when I thought about what are companies and businesses that I just actively enjoy, I enjoy buying from them. And when I think about those companies, what they’ve done is they’ve created this really enjoyable user experience.


So what I did was I just looked at, like yes, my value is gratitude and being grateful. Is it possible to have a client experience where they can literally say, “I am grateful that John Israel is my Cutco salesman because I just have such a great experience buying and enjoying and using my product from him. I enjoy it, I am grateful for him.” How can I create that experience as often as possible with as many clients as possible? Because if that’s the case, the sales just happen. Because there’s just a natural attraction of I want to do this again. And so I think there’s a lot and I think that you what you said of “Hey, I made a sale, on to the next one,” right? That’s the nature of business, it’s new business.


We’re always just striving and driving for the new business, but at the same time when we take a step back and we look at the value of retaining a client, it costs a lot less money to retain a client than it does to go find a new one. So systematically what people have done is they’ve found systematic ways of finding new clients, but how many people have found systematic ways of keeping clients? What’s their client retention strategy? Most people don’t have that.


So on the simple side of, there’s two parts of this that I would say is like with the Mr. Thank You project, it was a really fascinating thing to look at. I probably had about 450 sales transactions that year, actually, no, it was closer to 800, when I started the Mr. Thank You project.


When I look back, every business has a cancellation ratio, right? Like how many clients start that don’t finish? And so we have that within inside of Cutco and it used to be like 10%. Like I would plan that 10% of my sales would cancel out and then that number got down a little bit. I think my best I got to is about 5%, 5% of my my sales would cancel. And what was crazy was when I look at the Mr. Thank You project, I sent a thank you card to every single client. And I’ll share a little bit about in a moment, what I actually said that might help some people. I sent a thank-you card to every single client who spent money with me that year who bought something, and that cancellation ratio while it was pretty good at 5%, cut in half to 2.5%. And when you think about lost income from canceled business or a lack of repeat business that is a massive, massive hole people aren’t even aware of in their business that you can… you make money by money you don’t lose.


And it’s such a simple thing, but we’re so focused on new business; we don’t think about well, how do I just keep what’s here? And it’s really simple. And I think it’s what we talked about earlier. It’s bring that human experience that you’re a human connecting with another human, not just a salesperson creating a transaction and then you’re on to the next one and they feel like a number. Because as soon as people feel like a number, they start to treat you like a number. They start to treat you like another business. They shop around, they find a better price, a better product, because they just don’t feel that human connection.


And it’s interesting, you can literally charge people more for the same product but just create a better connection and they will joyfully keep buying from you and never shop around because that connection is what they’re paying for. And so I think that anything people can do to develop that human connection makes a big difference.


I’ll give a simple story with this that kind of came out in the wrong, in not an unexpected way. So it was my first summer selling Cutco. I was 19 years old and I was, we work off of our initial network and then we ask for referrals and we go from there. So I was seeing somebody to demo Cutco and saw my friend’s mom co-worker, super random. And her name was Cynthia Blackman. She was super sweet. I go over to her house to demo Cutco. She loved it, she actually already had some Cutco that was like 30 years old so she’s like of course, I’ll buy some more. That’s what she did.


Then within 24 hours she calls me to cancel the order and I was kind of thrown off. It was my first canceled sale ever and I was like I don’t even know what to do, like did I do something wrong or whatever? And in the conversation it happened pretty quick and I said hey, is everything okay? Did I do something wrong? She’s like no, I just have to cancel. Can’t talk about it, gotta go and then she like hung up and I was like oh, man. So it kind of really threw me off and I still thought about it with like 24 to 48 hours later I was still thinking about it and I was like man, why is this still bothering me?


I thought because I just enjoyed meeting this person, like sale or no sale, I just had a great time connecting with her, getting to talk about her bird. She had a bunch of pet birds, and her family, and her sons that she was really proud of. And so I was like you know what? This is before Mr. Thank You project, before this was ever even part of my life, and I said you know what, I’m gonna send her a thank you card, even though she canceled her sale.


So what I wrote was “Dear Cynthia, I wanted to reach out to say thank you for your time. I know it didn’t work out, this opportunity for you to purchase Cutco, but I just want to let that regardless of that, I am just grateful for the time we spent together. I really enjoyed getting to meet your birds, hear about your kids, hear about your work, and your life and if you ever need anything in the future let me know, but otherwise I just want to let you know how much I enjoyed our time together.” That was it. Wrote the cards, sent it.


Now two things, one thing that’s interesting is like the emotional impact of expressing gratitude during painful experiences. Because it sort of diffuses the situation because you’re kind of like releasing the hold that pain has on you by bringing gratitude to it. Unexpectedly I wrote this card, and I suddenly felt better and I just stopped worrying about it and I literally just forgot about it honestly. Went on with my life.


Two years later, I’m in college, in my dorm room, still selling Cutco, and I get this random phone call. I answer the phone and the other line says, “Hey, is this Cutco John?” That’s what everyone called me, Cutco John. “Is this Cutco John?” I said, “Yes, this is Cutco John. How can I help you?” And she says, “Well, you might not remember me, but my name is Cynthia Blackman and we met a couple of years ago and I was trying to buy some Cutco knives, but I had to cancel.” I was like,”Of course, I remember you Cynthia. How are you?” And she’s like, “Well I’m doing a lot better now and I’d like to place my order.” I’m like, “Huh, awesome!” So she’s like, “I have my catalog, I’d like to place an order.”


So she lists out tons of stuff, I’m talking an order three times the size of what she originally purchased, and I was kind of blown away. I’m like and she didn’t ask for a discount, she didn’t ask for anything, and then I was kind of blown away. I was like, “Wow Cynthia, like thanks for reaching out to me to place your order.”


She says, “Well John, do you know why I’m calling you?” I said, “I have no idea.” She says, “All those years ago when I bought that Cutco from you I really wanted to get it, but what I couldn’t tell you at that time was that I had just found out that I was diagnosed with cancer and that I was gonna have to leave my job and my boys were gonna have to move back into the house to basically help support me as I went through everything I had to go through. And when I got your card in the mail, it showed me that you saw me as someone more than just a customer, but another human being that you valued. And I told myself when I’m healthy one day, I’m gonna call this guy back and I’m gonna buy knives from him and that’s why I’m calling you today.”


T:  Wow.


J:  And I mean, we just started tearing up on the phone and it was just this experience that, by the way, thank you cards were not a part of my life. I don’t even know where it came from. I didn’t even write thank you cards to my graduation presents that my mom was bugging me about, but I just felt the need to do this because I just value the human being that was on the other side and what showed up was just this reciprocation of like that’s who I want to do business with. I want to do business with someone who values me as a human being, not just a customer and that’s stuck with me my entire career selling Cutco and I think has really served and got me to where I am in my business.


So I would say that for anyone who’s listening, whether it be writing a thank you card to your customers or something that allows them to connect with you as a normal human being that they experience you value them above just a sale, your business will continue to grow and you’ll get that repeat retention that you want because that’s what we all want in every sales interaction and it’s so hard to get.


T:  That is a cool story. I am just like… I feel pain right now because when I was a Cutco rep, like you were talking about 10% canceled, 5% canceled. I think I only had two canceled orders ever, but as you’re telling a story I’m recalling I would sit in the driveway. I’d write a little card and I throw in three band-aids.


J:  Just in case they cut themselves. 🙂


T: Yeah. 🙂


J:  That’s cute.


T:  And stick it in the mailbox and and drive off. And that was like just kind of a thing I did. Now I never followed up, but I’m just like oh crap, like I got to get my act together because I’ve seen the value of that and I use reminding me of that practice.


And one thing that you mentioned was authenticity and thank you graduation cards and I always hate that concept and I kind of refuse to do it. Probably, my family’s like whatever. Like the obligatory. Like you probably didn’t get a thank you card from our wedding because I just hate obligatory… Because it’s like this obligatory thing that just feels so like… I get them. It’ll be Christmas and Charlie’s cousins will send the thank-you cards because the family rule:  You can’t play with the thing until you write the thank you card. “Thank you for the mittens, love blah, blah, blah.” And I literally see them show up and I’m like meh.


J:  Right.


T:  And what I love about what you’re saying is it’s not the obligatory thank you cards that matter. It’s the ones that actually are genuine and like that means something that are heartfelt gratitude that are the most impactful, not the “Hey thanks for your business, Tasha.” Right? I mean am I catching that right?


J:  Yeah and I think it’s what kind of, not weirds people out, but has them confused about the Mr. Thank You project. They’re like ugh, thank you cards are such that like obligatory thing you just… I guess you just were more consistent at doing that obligatory thing. Which is like a way it can be done, right? Like most things can be done without heart, and I think that rolls into one topic you wanted to talk about today was leadership and how does gratitude and appreciation and acknowledgement fit inside of leadership? And I’ll share a story with this and there’s a great definition that goes along with the word appreciate, but here’s how the story goes.


So I was out in Philadelphia during the Mr. Thank You project, this was day three and I go do this… I’m with what’s called the Front Row Dads community, which is a group of entrepreneurial men and we get together to learn how to become better husbands to our wives and fathers to our children all while running successful businesses and it’s an organization I care a lot about and am pretty involved with. So this is a very first event and we all get together and we’re in Philadelphia, we have the training and then we go to a bar/restaurant for an evening together to enjoy and create fellowship. Again, most of us had never met yet.


So we’re getting there, we get to this restaurant and there’s about 40 of us and we walk in and it’s this really quiet bar/restaurant and there was one waitress and 40 of us guys come in with no reservation and you could just see the look on the waitresses’ face and she was just like “Oh, y’all just ruined my night.” Like she was not expecting, she’s hoping maybe she can go home early and suddenly 40 dudes showed up who are rowdy. So she seats us in the back of the place, at the back of the restaurant and she could have been the crappiest, lamest, most annoyed waitress ever, and we would have totally understood because we came with no reservations, she didn’t have to give us great service, but she chose to do it. And she sucked it up and whether she was annoyed in the beginning, she really opened up to us, and we had a great time cracking jokes together and she took care for all of us. One waitress took care of 40 guys. She got all of our food correct, she even had the cooks bring the food out just so she could have help. I mean she just went above and beyond.


And so as I was… I had written four thank you cards for the day and I had one more to write and her name was Shantae. I said Shantae is my last one for the day. So I sat down and I thought about okay, well how do I appreciate this person? How do you appreciate someone you don’t even know? It’s kind of an interesting question, but when you think, the word appreciate what I learned about it is the root word is a-pret-ate, which is Latin for to appraise or to set the value of the thing. So when you think of when you appraise something, like you have a house, you want to sell it, the first thing you do is you get an appraisal. You hire professional to come in to say hey, this property is worth this much. Well, how do they do that? They begin with a list of questions, they begin by being curious about the property. When was this built, is there any termite damage? They have all these things that they look for to discover and assign a value.


So when you think of the concept of appreciating somebody like a human being it’s about bringing curiosity to who they are. What are their values, what do they care about, what do they deal with, what are their biggest goals? What are their biggest challenges and struggles? And so I brought that to this person and I was like well what are their goals, what do they care about, what are their struggles?


I thought, it just came out and I said, “Dear Shantae, I just wanted to take a moment to thank you on behalf of the Front Row Dads community. We’re a group of entrepreneurial men who are here to learn how to become better husbands to our wives and fathers to our children while running successful businesses and tonight was really important because it was all about fellowship. It was by getting to know each other and we know we came in with no reservation and you could have given us crappy service and we would have understood. You could have been really annoyed and we would have gotten it, but instead you were amazing, you were gracious, and you did a phenomenal job. And I just wanted to thank you on behalf of everybody here for who you are and the greatness that you brought to our evening tonight. Signed, John Israel.”


And I wrote the card, I put it in the envelope, and it’s about almost two in the morning now because we closed them out. I walk over to Shantae, I hand her the card. She accepts it awkwardly as most strangers do when I hand them a thank you card, and I start to walk away and then I realize, I need to go to the restroom. So I kind of make a U-turn and I go back into the restaurant to use the restroom before we leave and as I come out Shantae is standing there, waiting for me to come out of the bathroom. And her head is kind of cocked to the side and she runs at me and gives me the biggest bear hug and says, “That is the best gift, that is the best tip that I’ve ever been given.” And she puts me down, she picked me up, it was good, good hug. And we just stood there and like looked at each other for a moment.


It wasn’t customer and server. Again, it was human being and human being just connecting with each other and what I saw there was just how much what people really want is to be seen, valued, and understood. And you don’t even need to know somebody that deeply, but if you’re looking for it, you can find it. So when you think about people inside of your organization and they want the same thing.


It’s easy as a sales leader to say, we’ll just muscle through it and you got this and just push through and just call another person to try and motivate them that way, but there’s something else to honoring the emotions and the feelings and the life that they’re going through. And saying like “Hey, I get that it’s really hard right now.” Like “Hey man, I just want to acknowledge you for being on this call tonight because you’ve got like two kids and you guys just have so much going on and on top of all that you still managed to hit your numbers for this month and gosh, that is amazing when you think about what you’ve had to do for that. So I just want to thank you for like all the effort you put into what you’re doing right now.”


T:  Mm-hmm.


J:  Because it’s easy to look at “Oh well, they could have sold more or they didn’t do this” and to look at those things and to point those out and that’s how most sales management leadership goes, but when we flip it upside down and just acknowledge what’s so and appreciate people for who they are then that’s when they want to keep showing up and that’s kind of where that client retention is where if you’re looking at employee retention or down line retention is people go where they’re appreciated. Because they don’t have to show up anymore. They don’t have to keep showing up, but because they do in spite of everything going on in their life, that’s really valuable. They don’t have to do it but they do and that’s where the gift is and when you can acknowledge that, people just feel good. And even if they don’t know why, they just want to keep going where they feel good, and as a leader that’s one of things that we do is we create a safe space for people to feel comfortable being themselves and bringing their best selves to where they are.


A lot of people aren’t trained to do that upon themselves, we’re always our biggest critics. So you might be literally the only person who breathes hope into their lives and believes in them and if you do that, they might be with you forever. And that’s how I believe gratitude and appreciation kind of apply inside of leadership.


T:  Well and it also ties back I think to what you said about trust earlier. That so much about leadership is about trust and it wasn’t exactly in this conversation, but when you build that human connection and it increases trust, people stop asking what the cost is, they’ll just follow you.


J:  Totally.


T:  Do you think that applies to leadership, not just sales too, right?


J:  Absolutely. Yeah and there’s also being in integrity with that for yourself of knowing that what you’re leading people to is the right opportunity, is a great opportunity. Yeah and that’s a big part of it.


T:  That’s so good. Okay, skills, structure, logistics, how do you craft a thank you card that isn’t lame?


J:  Yeah, it’s… how do you tell somebody I love you, right? There’s a lot of different ways and I think that even what I might tell people right now is you don’t even have to do this via thank you card. And that might throw people off a little bit about what I’m up to and that’s fine because I think at the end of the day all I want is for more of humanity to be seen and valued for who they are with their greatest contributions to the world.


So when it comes to specifically on a thank you card, I think what’s important is, kind of like I mentioned with it what is to appreciate is, is to appraise and to set the value and to look at people’s goals, to look at their values, to look at their challenges, to look at what they go through, and to become a good finder in what’s so about them and then to point those out and acknowledge it in the letter.


There’s a kind of an old adage of when you’re writing a thank-you card try to avoid using I, me, or my as often as possible because then your thank-you card becomes about you. Like “I’m so grateful that this happened. My business is so much better because of you. I’m hitting my goals because of your…”


When it becomes about you then it’s like “Cool, I’m glad I helped you.” I’m just trying to think of an experience recently where it’s like “Hey, I’m so glad that we had the opportunity to meet at XYZ event, and you have a lot of places that you can put your money and what you invest to support your business’ growth and the fact that you chose to invest with me is awesome. And I just wanna let you know how grateful I am because I enjoy just meeting you and the conversation we had about X, Y, & Z.” Bring something specific so they know this isn’t what you write to everybody. “And I just want to let you know that I really look forward to getting to see you again and the next opportunity we can connect because, again, my goal is to have you as a client for life so take care, God bless. If you need anything, let me know.”


Whatever, something simple like that. So I think that the more you can reflect to people and that was kind of more in a business side of writing a thank you card. And there’s a lot of other ways of doing it and I think that’s one of the most powerful things that I would say that I want people to take away from the Mr. Thank You project is not just in the business component, but just finding the people in your life that you feel deserve to be honored, valued, respected, who maybe led you at some point in your life. Might have been a mentor, a teacher, a parent, or whatever and to take the time to appreciate and acknowledge them and just to highlight like, “Hey, back in 1997 when I was a high school senior and was really struggling,” I did this for my English teacher. “I was really struggling with with reading and with my writing and you are the person who inspired me to write. Not because you were mean or you’re a disciplinarian, but because you loved writing and I felt that when you were my teacher. And I just wanted to thank you for that because now I’m a writer.” I sent her a copy of my book and I said, “and I owe a lot of my desire and love for literature now to you, so I just wanted to thank you for that and what you’ve inspired.”


There’s not a formula to that as much as it is just what you feel you want to say to somebody that you’ve never said and to allow for the vulnerability there and it’s really amazing on how you feel. And it was actually pretty awesome, I sent that letter off to my English teacher in high school and she got it and we’ve actually become great friends since then and we’ve stayed in touch. I’ve said to her actually both copies – I have two books now – and it’s amazing how it creates a deeper connection with people that you maybe have lost connection with. So yeah, I don’t think that was as specific as maybe you were wanting on the on the format, but those are my strategies on it.


T:  Don’t worry that’s my gift. I wrote down step one, you could have done this. Step two, but you did this instead. Step three, I’m so grateful for meeting you. Step four, blank impacted me. And step five, looking forward to blank.


J:  Yeah and then something and I don’t know if this is a good thing to end on, but on the concept of gratitude, you actually pointed something out that I think is important for everyone to get on this concept of gratitude is that the word gratitude, the best definition I’ve heard of gratitude is the emotion one feels when you receive a gift or experience something as a gift. And a gift is something that when you look at it conceptually it’s something that’s given freely without obligation or like desire to get anything back. But that experience of something as a gift.


You can look at how somebody acted as a gift. You can perceive it as like he totally could have been a jerk, you totally could have been… by the way I wouldn’t necessarily use that language. You could have not given us great service, but you did. And you’re acknowledging that gift, like even if they weren’t conscious that they did that, but the fact that you acknowledge it has them be like whoa. Wow, yeah I did do that. I didn’t even think about that, but wow thank you for acknowledging me for that because most people are caught up in their own brains. So I just wanted to point out that definition because I think that’s helpful for people in this concept of understanding gratitude at a deeper level and really what it means to acknowledge and appreciate people.


T:  Yeah, I love that. I know you have a meeting in a couple minutes so tell us how, tell us about the, how we can get involved, I have seven since we landed from Hawaii that I need to add to it.


J:  Awesome.


T:  So how does that work? Tell us about the 74 million and and how we get involved, what should we do now?


J:  Sure, absolutely. So is really the platform we’ve built to track the gratitude that we inspire around the world.  So the mission is to inspire 74 million thank you cards written around the world and so you can literally go to, just create a user profile, it’s free.


Then what you do is you just put in the person’s name you wrote a card to and if you know their zip code, you can put their zip code in, and what it does is it actually tracks all the gratitude that you’ve spread and a gratitude map pops up and it shows where all your thank you cards have been sent. It’s really cool. We paid a developer to make this thing and he’s like, “I’ve never seen anything like this, this is pretty cool.” And it also keeps track of every thank you card you send so it gives you your personal number so you’ve sent two cards or five cards or whatever and the number keeps growing.


So we’d gamified it so you get a different badge when you get five or 10 or 50 or 100. And really we just want to help people make gratitude a habit and we’ll send some emails out periodically of just some inspirational stories of other Mr. Thank Yous or Miss Thank Yous around the world and what they’ve done and how they use the project in their life or in their business.


So what I would kind of leave people with is, is that there’s a great guy that I’ve kind of looked up to, his name is Gary Keller. He’s the founder of Keller Williams Real Estate. We do a lot of business with his company and one of the things that he said was, the thing that’s interesting about my job is it’s about holding a big vision. You have to have a big vision that other people’s visions can fit inside of. And that’s what his organization is for his people. Now when I look at what is Mr. Thank You, it’s kind of the opposite almost where our mission and our vision is to fit inside of your vision because your vision might be to grow a certain business or to develop something and all we want to do is support you to experience more gratitude, more fulfillment, more love in your life, in the process of doing that and build clients for life.


So we just want to be a mission that fits inside of your mission with whatever you do. So go to, create a profile, submit the cards that you’ve written. If you have any questions, you can reach out to me there and the book.  


The book Mr. Thank You Project just launched on Amazon. So you can find that there and if you have a team or anything and you want to order bulk amounts of books, we do a discount if you do more than 10. Just email me directly or email my assistant through the website and we’ll take care of you, but that’s it.


T:  Awesome well, I know I need to let you go since you have your appointment. Thank you so much for your time today John and it was great seeing you again.


J:  Thanks Tash.




Thanks for reading today’s post with John Israel.

Go to to sign up and start sending your thank you cards, and go to Amazon to read about his journey of gratitude.



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