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The Gratitude Loop


One of the best parts of my job as a coach and Co-Founder of HG is that I get to meet and coach inspiring, impassioned clients, like Andrew Horn. Andrew is Co-Founder and CEO of Tribute, a company that gifts gratitude. Check out Andrew’s story and see how coaching with HG impacted him and what he’s gifting back. Love, Lauren

If you’ve ever coached with Handel Group, you know that it all starts with you looking at your personal history. Where you’re at in your life, where you came from, where you want to go, what you’ve done, and the moments that made you who you are.

As I went through my personal history with my coach, there was one moment that stood out that had sparked a significant shift in me. It was the moment when I fully realized the role that my community and friendships had played in my personal growth and happiness. Now, this discovery may not seem so revelatory in and of itself, but what it sparked was massive for me.

It led me to direct the same energy and focus I was exerting on my work, towards the cultivation of relationships and friendships that energized me. I started to say ‘no’ to events that would leave me empty the next day, spent more time seeking out one-on-ones, and started to communicate with intention.

This shift actually started with a gift.

THE GIFT THAT CHANGED MY LIFE

When I was 27, I was happily working on my second non-profit venture called AbilityList and living in Brooklyn with my girlfriend / Burning Man wife, Miki. (who is also an HG client)

Everything changed when I got home on the night of my 27th Birthday. I opened the door to my apartment and boom, 25 of my closest friends jumped out of closets and from behind tables to surprise me. An incredible feeling unto itself.

Halfway through the event, Miki corralled everyone into the living room, pulled out a projector and put the picture on our wall. She placed me in the very back of the room and hit play.

What I didn’t know was that Miki had emailed 20 of my closest friends and family members the week before and asked each of them to send her a one-minute video telling me why they love me (yep, she’s a keeper). Miki collected the videos and compiled them into a single gratitude filled montage.

I sat in the back of the room as the first videos played, where:

  • My mom told me how much she appreciated me turning her business around.
  • My dad told me that he is proud of the man I’ve become (a major feat).
  • My new best friend in New York actually called me his best friend for the first time.

In that moment, I felt the urge to cry. At first, I held it back, then the wiser part of my brain said “f*ck that,” and I allowed the emotion to wash over me and cried tears of joy for the remaining 20 minutes.

Towards the end of the video, I realized that I was basically watching my eulogy at the ripe age of 27. When the video finished, I looked at Miki, kissed her and told her it was the most meaningful gift I’ve ever received.

“THANK YOU, How did you do this?” were the first words out of my mouth.

Her response: “well… it sucked.”

She told me that it took her over 15 hours of sending reminders, collecting individual videos and editing them into the single montage to make the video. I realized that the only reason more people hadn’t received this type of gift, was because of how difficult they were to create. It was then, in that moment, that my company Tribute was born.

COMMUNITY SUPPORT IS EVERYTHING

After receiving my birthday tribute, I felt about as good at any moment that I can remember in my life. I felt connected to the people that I love and completely seen in a way unlike I had experienced before. That “being seen” part is a big part of why I think this experience was so important.

What I’ve come to realize is that in our lives, we all will go through periods of self-doubt, transformation, and enlightenment that change who we are, what we do and what we believe in. Great friends have the power to affirm and acknowledge this growth in a way that shows us we are who we want to be.

And that is exactly what happened for me. I felt like I was having an impact, like I mattered. I walked away with a confidence that has stayed with me ever since. This is one of the reasons I was so excited to build my company and share Tribute with the world.

THE IMPORTANCE OF ALIGNING PURPOSE AND WORK

By the time I started working with my coach, I had already built Tribute and it was doing really well, but my coach got me to see that the more my business was about others and about helping humanity get their worth through their community’s eyes, the more the business would thrive.

And she was right!

She helped me change my whole perspective on how I see myself and my company. I really connected to how important it is to me to teach people the importance of appreciation and acknowledgement, and the impact it has on individuals and the community as a whole.

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TIPS ON HOW TO COMMUNICATE WITH MORE GRATITUDE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

One of the easiest ways to build stronger social ties with our friends and community is to be more giving with our gratitude and appreciation with the people in our lives. It is one of the easiest ways to support them, which immediately makes them feel ‘seen’ and more connected to you.

At Tribute, we created pillars that will help you communicate with more gratitude.

1) I love you, because…

I have learned through research and practice that it is not our statement of affection that impacts a person, it is the explanation of it.

So, saying “I love you” is important and always has an impact, but it’s when we take time to qualify our love with an explanation that the true authenticity and thought comes through.

  • I love you, because you make me the best version of myself
  • I love you, because you make me laugh harder than anyone else
  • I love you, because you were the only friend that showed up to help me move

Next time you want to say “I love you,” bridge it with a because and watch what happens.

2) If you have anything nice to say, say it all

Remember that saying we all heard a million times growing up, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” I realized that the statement is exponentially more powerful when you take out the two “don’ts.” It becomes, “If you have anything nice to say, say it all.”

3) The power of prompts

Getting people to open up and share their feelings for someone is a vulnerable, scary thing. People don’t know what to say, they are scared of judgement or don’t want to make the person uncomfortable. Prompts make it easier. So, at your next holiday party or a birthday dinner  make a friend feel awesome, by being the bold one to raise a toast and acknowledge that person in front of everyone. Or even make it a game and give everyone a chance to share one amazing thing about the person you are celebrating.

THE NEVER-ENDING GRATITUDE LOOP

Research from the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley shows that when we share our appreciation for someone, that person is statistically more likely to share gratitude with someone in their direct, and even indirect social circles. So, sharing your gratitude literally creates a never-ending “gratitude loop” that will impact people around the globe.

Our words are infinitely more powerful when shared.

I learned at the young age of 27 that the shortest path to happiness is simply sharing your appreciation with the people in your life. Now, I do it for a living. Since I launched my company, we’ve created 30,000+ Tributes in more than 30 countries and the word is spreading.

Start communicating with gratitude this holiday season. It matters more than you know. To learn more about HG coaching, schedule a 30-minute consultation today.

Love,
Andrew Horn