John Israel on Gratitude during COVID-19 | FP Bonus Episode

John Israel on Gratitude during COVID-19 | FP Bonus Episode

How can you be more grateful during this challenging time? What can you do to make this time count? What can you do to make your clients feel hopeful?

In this podcast episode, Whitney Owens speaks with John Israel about gratitude and what you can do to be more grateful.

Meet John Israel

John is an author, speaker, and social entrepreneur. He is the founder of The Mr. Thank You Project which is a global movement to inspire 74 million Thank You Cards written around the world.

He has been featured on ABC News, Fox News, Pop Sugar, and has even given a TEDx talk. John lives in Plano TX with his wife Monica, and 3 children ages 5yrs, 3yrs, and 7 months.

Visit John’s website and connect with him on Instagram.

In This Podcast


  • Seeking a greater purpose
  • The year of thank you
  • How to be grateful when you don’t want to be
  • What people need right now
  • How to make a connection/how to write a thank you card

Seeking a greater purpose

Excuse me I cannot hear what you are saying because who you are speaks so loudly – Ralph Waldo Emmerson

The Mr Thank You project was an outpouring of a desire for a greater sense of purpose in John’s work. In 2016 John was a professional gratitude salesman and he found himself stuck in a place where he was stressed and no longer grateful for what he was doing. John watched a Ted Talk by Simon Sinek and learned that people don’t care what you do, they care why you do it. In business they don’t care what you sell, they care why you are selling it. So, if you want to change your life and business, start with why. At this point John’s ‘why’ was survival, getting by.

The Year of Thank You

John was figuring out how he could embody gratitude because at this point he didn’t feel grateful at all. At the time he was working with a business coach who helped him formulate this whole project, which was initially called The Year of Thank You, but then later became the Mr Thank You Project. This project was where he made a commitment for 365 days to write a 5 thank you cards every single day.

How to be grateful when you don’t want to be

By allowing myself to process and experience the emotions of the day, I was able to make that shift into gratitude.

There were certain rules for this project:

  1. 5 handwritten cards every day, the next day starts at 0, can’t do 30 in one day and none the next
  2. 3 thank you cards max per person
  3. Commitment to the process: Every day he missed, he would have to donate $1,000 to charity

Gratitude is a reflective state and you have to stop and pause and think of the past and add positive meaning to it.

What people need right now

Be like a beacon of light, to show that there is still good in the world.

Right now, the big decision driver is fear. People seem to have a big disconnection with the words sympathy and empathy. Sympathy says I feel what you feel. Empathy says I understand how you feel. Empathy is really required for leadership right now, and that is what people need. Now is the time you need to have courage, and courage is that willingness to still help and still market your business so that you can help people.

Reach out with everyone you have been business within the past. Be authentic and reach out and ask if there is anything they need help with.

How to make a connection/how to write a thank you card

You make a VOW:
V: Values – what are their values, what do they care about?
O: Outcome – what is their goal, what do they want to accomplish?
W: Weakness – What is the hardest thing they are dealing with?

When you know these things about someone, you can make such a great connection with them.

Click here to join John’s 30 day challenge.

Books by John

Watch John’s Ted Talk here:

Useful Links:

Meet Whitney Owens

Whitney Ownens | Build a faith-based practiceWhitney is a licensed professional counselor and owns a growing group practice in Savannah, Georgia. Along with a wealth of experience managing a practice, she also has an extensive history working in a variety of clinical and religious settings, allowing her to specialize in consulting for faith-based practices and those wanting to connect with religious organizations.

Knowing the pains and difficulties surrounding building a private practice, she started this podcast to help clinicians start, grow, and scale a faith-based practice. She has learned how to start and grow a successful practice that adheres to her own faith and values. And as a private practice consultant, she has helped many clinicians do the same.

Thanks For Listening!

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