Publicly giving thanks for 100+ days
About a year ago, I embarked on a project. I planned to give thanks through a daily social post for 100+ days to the many individuals I was grateful for in the 11+ year journey building HomeSpotter. By the end, I had posted 121 days in a row about 222 individuals.
A different version of this idea crossed my mind in the month leading up to the acquisition. I considered sending a handwritten note of thanks to many of the people I was grateful for on the journey. Immediately before and after the purchase, though, I was swamped. And as 2021 progressed, I didn’t see a conceivable way to make this happen.
However, as Thanksgiving 2021 hit, the notion that I ought to do something re-sparked. That’s when it dawned on me that a post on LinkedIn publicly giving thanks to each individual could be more impactful than a handwritten note. What better way to recognize someone professionally than in front of others? I also realized that while I couldn’t commit to one big burst of writing 100 notes in a weekend, the idea of committing to writing one a day was straightforward.
I wrote an initial post outlining this on November 30. I publicly committed myself to do this without any other days pre-written. And I quickly adopted the hashtag #givethanks100. I had started a spreadsheet of many people I wanted to track, including things like:
Relation: advisor, colleague, connector, customer, employee, family, friend, investor, or vendor
Target/Actual Post Date
Dependencies: if someone introduced me to someone else and I was thanking both, I wanted to tie them together across posts
I spread the individuals across target post days by giving everyone a random number. I then made adjustments to mix up the kinds of relationships with people I wrote about each week. And I did some final manual overrides.
The next day, I started with a post about Kate. I got a little teary-eyed.
From there, I just kept at it. Some weekends I would pre-write much of the following week’s posts. On other weekends I didn’t get any done ahead of time. I gave myself the flexibility that I didn’t need to post at a set time every single day. Some nights it was pretty late. For others, it was before 7am. I didn’t want to break the chain.
One of the big surprises to me along the way was how many people were paying attention. Some posts had upwards of 4,000 impressions on LinkedIn. Still- that felt abstract and semi-arbitrary. The more significant thing was the number of long-term acquaintances I’d bump into who said they were reading many of the posts and thanked me for what I did. And an article on my project was written in the Star Tribune.
I wrapped up my posts after four months on March 31 with a post about my kids, Eli and Adeline. I once again got a little teary-eyed.
In this season of thanks, I hope we can all reflect on the opportunity to thank those who contribute to our success. One of the things I still need to work on is giving thanks along the way. While this #givethanks100 project was nice for what it was, I’ll admit I often lose sight of the opportunities to celebrate the team’s contributions as they happen. I’ll commit to working on that as we bring in the new year.
Thanks again to the employees, investors, family, friends, and others who impacted me on the HomeSpotter journey. Check out some of their stories here: homespotter.givethanks100.com. Some can’t-miss ones in pseudo-chronological order include Mom, Dad, Grandpa, Ed, Mike, Brian, Nate, Mark, Mark, Amanda, Abby, Devin, Evelyn, Tony, Sarah, Neil, Aaron, Kaitlin, Dug, and Tim.
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This was such a great idea, and even better to watch you see it through to the end.
Those were certainly fun to read! Here's the link to the Star Tribune article if anyone is interested: https://www.startribune.com/schafer-how-doing-business-can-be-a-bit-more-like-christmas-morning/600131827/