For whom are you grateful?

Do they know that?

How have you told those people?

These are important questions to ask yourself…every day. Or least once a week. Every Thursday is Thank You Thursday. And it is a perfect time to ask yourself who you can thank.

Jon Stolpe's Thank You Thursday Story
There is tremendous power in basic gratitude. (Tweet That) | Share this Graphic on Pinterest | Share on Facebook

What is Thank You Thursday? I’ll let this post tell you.

One person in particular has taken Thank You Thursday to heart and was kind enough to share how it has impacted him and those around him.

His name is Jon Stolpe and this is his story.

A little about Jon…

Jon is passionate about small groups, missions, family, marriage, parenting, and Philadelphia sports.  Jon is also a writer and blogs daily at Jon Stolpe Stretched. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wonderful wife, Leanne, and their two kids.  Connect with him on TwitterFacebook or his blog.

A couple of months ago, Matt posted about starting a Thank You Thursday Revolution.  I don’t know if you remember that post, but I took him up on the challenge.  Matt’s challenge involved writing a Thank You Note (or notes) every Thursday.  He encouraged readers to put a recurring reminder on your calendar to make sure we remembered to write a note.

My world has been rocked by the Thank You Revolution.

Since I read Matt’s post, I have delivered a handwritten Thank You note to someone in my company every Thursday.

Typically, I have left the note in the company mailbox of an unsuspecting recipient.  Occasionally, I have dropped a note on someone’s desk at the end of the day.  In each case, I haven’t made a big deal out of the delivery. I have intentionally waited until the end of the day to deliver the message.

In most cases, the notes are discovered the next day when the recipient retrieves his or her mail.  Sometimes it takes a week or two before the notes are discovered.  In most cases, the response has been amazing.

Co-workers have come up to me after receiving their notes and expressed their surprise and gratitude.  They are overwhelmed that someone would recognize their actions and attitudes in the office.  They have been so appreciative of a simple note that took me only a few minutes to write and deliver.

One powerful story…

A couple of months ago, we hired a young man to fill a support role in our department.  One of his responsibilities is to order cell phones and set them up for employees throughout our office.  I received his assistance in setting up my new iPhone, and I really appreciated his persistence and positive attitude in providing support to me.

The next day, I wrote him a thank you note expressing my gratitude for the things I mentioned above.  One week later, he picked up the message in his mailbox.  As I was walking through the office, I noticed that he had his Thank You note displayed on the shelf in his office.  Later that day, he came up to me and thanked me for thanking him.  You should have seen his face.  It glowed as a smile stretched across his face.

There is tremendous power in basic gratitude. (Click Here to Tweet)


We live in a culture where most everyone is focused on themselves.  We have come to expect hard work and little appreciation.  Yet the reality is we all want to be appreciated.  And gratitude is contagious.

Whether you consider yourself a leader or not, you can become part of the revolution right now, right where you live and work.  Try it!

It is truly this simple:

  1. Grab a box of thank you notes from a local store or online (affiliate link).
  2. Schedule a recurring reminder on your calendar.
  3. Observe those around you doing great things.
  4. Write a simple thank you note. It’s not that hard. Read Matt’s post for a simple formula for writing them.
  5. Deliver it to an unsuspecting recipient.
  6. Sit back and watch what happens.

I dare you.  Join the Thank You Thursday Revolution. 

How has gratitude impacted your life and your leadership?  What steps do you need to take to make appreciation part of your everyday experience?

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49 thoughts on “The Power of Gratitude: A Thank You Revolution Story

  1. Michael Shaw says:

    Excellent blog post. I have the honor of being a friend of the author, Jon Stolpe, so I know the writer works hard to put his beliefs into practice.

    Not only I am reminded of the power of gratitude, but also the power of the written word both for good and for bad. Because technology has made communication so easy and inpersonal, it has become easy to broadcast, to shout, to pontificate but less easy to communicate soul to soul. A handwritten word from a friend, facilitated by pen, not keyboard, touches my soul though I rarely get a handwritten letter anymore or write one for that matter.

    I add here that I am really surprised at the number of people who send out holiday greetings with the name of sender printed under a photo and no more.They leave me cold. One friend recently sent a holiday card with just a few thoughtful written lines and it made my day. What a joy: a handwritten note from my friend.

    I am on for “Thank You Thursday.”

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      You have a great friend Michael.

      I am writing my Christmas cards now. Handwritten. At least 3 minutes worth of thought and writing for each. My hand hurts…30 down, 70 or so to go.

      But they make a huge difference. Worth every minute and hand cramp.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      1. Jon Stolpe says:

        Only 3.5 hours left! What a great example, Matt.

    2. Jon Stolpe says:

      Thanks, Michael. Last year, we sent out our Christmas cards via e-mail. This year, we’re getting back to the good old US Mail. We’ll be working on the handwritten part at the bottom of each letter.

  2. Todd Liles says:

    Gratitude makes you more approachable as a leader. When you say “Thank You” it opens the door for communication.

    1. Jon Stolpe says:

      Isn’t that the truth? I’ve had so many people come up to me after receiving one of my thank you notes. They are humbled, shocked, and appreciative. I want my team members to see me as a teammate and not just a manager or boss.

      1. Todd Liles says:

        A teammate that leads.

        ——– Original message ——–

      2. Jon Stolpe says:


      3. Matt McWilliams says:

        Well put Todd.

      4. Todd Liles says:

        Feeling the love!

  3. Dan Erickson says:

    I do write thank-you notes to those who have been most helpful in raising my daughter and helping me in my career path. I could always give out a few more. Great post, Jon. And great idea, Matt.

    1. Jon Stolpe says:

      Thanks, Dan. We could always do more, but it starts with one. One thank you note at a time, we can make a difference.

  4. Jon Stolpe says:

    Thank you, Matt. Thanks for the opportunity to share here today. And thank you for inspiring the Thank You Thursday Revolution in my own life.

  5. I know I have to work on my thanks to my wife. I’m proud of the many things she’s taken on in life and how well she’s done. I find it easier to encourage or thank someone I see on occasion than my wife whom I see every day. I write my son a letter every Tuesday. Maybe I can get into a thank-you-note habit on Thursdays as well.

    1. Jon Stolpe says:

      Yes, join the revolution!

      I can relate to the home front. I need to make sure I thank the people closest to me – like my wife and kids. They put up with me every day.

    2. Matt McWilliams says:

      Oh you can!

      In fact, you’ve reminded me that I am not thanking my wife enough in the written form. Thanks for the reminder Tom!

  6. Sharon Gramling says:

    Praise God for attitudes of gratitude… a truly Godly characteristic, sir. Thank you for this post!

    1. Matt McWilliams says:


      Thanks for stopping by Sharon.

    2. Jon Stolpe says:

      Thank you for your encouragement, Sharon!

  7. Wade Thorson says:

    This is something I have been working on getting going lately. I started by writing one to my wife and then a manager. I keep wanting to start but haven’t got it going. I am planning to put a time on my calendar starting tomorrow for once a week. Thanks for the reminder of how important this is!

    1. Tom Dixon says:

      Love the idea including a manager. I don’t think I could think of anything more encouraging than receiving a thank you from someone on my team – it is also motivation to try to EARN it!

      1. Jon Stolpe says:

        I can tell you from experience that it’s amazing and powerful.

    2. Jon Stolpe says:

      Great to hear, Wade. Let us know how it goes. I look forward to Thursdays now more than ever before since I joined the Thank You Thursday Revolution.

    3. Matt McWilliams says:

      AWESOME Wade. In one year, you will be blown away. Probably much sooner, but you will see things piling up in one year.

    4. Wade Thorson says:

      Well my first Thank You Thursday wasn’t real successful, but I didn’t put a timeslot in my calendar for it. I will be adding that today, and writing the note today as well. Then as I plan for 2013 this will be one of my goals.

      1. Jon Stolpe says:

        Don’t give up. Putting Thank You Thursday on my calendar as a recurring appointment has worked best for me.

      2. Matt McWilliams says:

        Neither was the first time I swung a golf club. Or my first tournament.

        But after a few years I was one of the top players in the country. And even then, more than 1/2 my rounds were over par.

        Make the next one awesome! And realize that to YOU, you may just be writing a note. To the recipient, you could be changing their life. Don’t belittle writing just one about something silly. I wrote one to my wife thanking her for emptying the trash in our bathroom. Do you think it’s ever going to be full again?

        And don’t fret if you miss a day. Thank you works great on Friday too. And weekends, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday!

      3. Wade Thorson says:

        A good point about the trash, it doesn’t have to be much. Anything is better than nothing. On that same note I planned to include my kids in the list of people I send them to, they love receiving mail. They would love something like this even more.

  8. Tom Dixon says:

    This is going on the calendar – so simple, not sure why I didn’t think of it before…

    1. Jon Stolpe says:

      Do it, Tom! You won’t be disappointed. Let us know how it goes.

    2. Matt McWilliams says:

      Another revolutionary!

      Way to go @jonstolpe:disqus

      1. Jon Stolpe says:

        It’s spreading!!!

  9. Rich Langton says:

    I love this post Matt.

    It reminds me of a TED Talk I saw recently about the power of hand written notes – Here’s a link to it; http://youtu.be/LVFVaWCV1TE – Gratitude is so powerful and when expressed brings blessings to the giver and the recipient.

    I sure need to implement the Thank You Thursday Revolution!!

    1. Jon Stolpe says:

      Cool, Rich! Thanks for the TED Talk link. Implement today!

    2. Jon Stolpe says:

      I just watched the video. Powerful! Thank you, Rich.

      1. Rich Langton says:

        You’re welcome – after reading your post I immediately remembered the video and thought you might find it applicable.

    3. Matt McWilliams says:

      Wow Rich. Thanks for stopping by.

      That talk is awesome.

      Join the revolution!

  10. Chip Dizard says:

    I’m in! I am working on a project that requires me to raise money, so I purchased thank you notes for that purpose. Now I will use them throughout 2013 to thank people around me. I believe in blessing others that are a blessing to me!

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Awesome Chip!

      Welcome to the Revolution. I’d love to hear (and share) your stories later. Keep at it!

    2. Jon Stolpe says:

      Awesome! So glad to have you on board. You will be amazed at the difference you will be making.

  11. Jon Stolpe says:

    I have to follow up on this post…

    I shared this post with the managers in my department. The next day, one of the managers approached me with a question: “Do you have one of those thank you notes I could borrow?” To which I replied: “Sure, here you go.” My colleague indicated that he was inspired by my post, and he wanted to write a thank you note to one his team members for a job well done on a specific project. The Thank You Revolution is spreading!!!

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Well, that made my week Jon!

      Thank you for sharing that…and for everything!

  12. Jon Stolpe says:

    And so the Thank You Thursday Revolution continues….

    Yesterday, I was called out in a meeting. My supervisor who had heard about my Thank You Thursday Revolution story unexpectedly asks my department who had ever received a thank you note from me. Nearly 1/3 of the room raised their hand. Then he asked me to explain what I was doing. Admittedly, I was a little embarrassed and unprepared to have the revolution shared in a department meeting like this. But I didn’t have much of a choice once the cat was out of the bag. I explained how a blogger friend of mine (that’s you Matt) had inspired me to start writing thank you notes on a weekly basis. I explained that I had joined the “revolution” hoping to make a difference in our organization by helping team members feel appreciated.

    I’m sure my cheeks were a little flush, but now I have some extra accountability as my whole department knows I’m doing this. I’m hoping that others will jump on board as a result of hearing my story.

    Today is the day. You and I can make a difference by expressing our appreciation!

    1. Jon Stolpe says:

      2 TYT Notes delivered to unsuspecting recipients today! Have you written your notes yet? It’s not too late.

    2. Matt McWilliams says:

      Wow. Wow. Wow.

      I can feel it Jon…we might just be close to making it a movement.


      1. Jon Stolpe says:

        Maybe we should start at #ThankYouThursday Revolution blog/website….

  13. Jon Stolpe says:

    Amazes me that this is still on top of your most popular posts list. Thank you for the opportunity to post here.

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