On September 1, 2017, I began a campaign to send one thank you letter every day over the next year. I dubbed this effort my #ThankYou365 campaign, and it's been a lot of fun so far.
To date, I’ve sent 78 thank you notes to friends, family members, coworkers, and colleagues across the country. I haven’t had any duplicates (yet!), which means that I’ve been able to hopefully brighten the days of 78 people in my life.
This challenge has been difficult, yet rewarding. The summer months were a tough time for my husband and I as we experienced a difficult loss, so I thought the challenge would help me heal and keep a positive outlook. October was another tough month as we experienced another loss in our lives, but I truly believe that the time I’ve spent writing thank you notes has helped me cope and heal.
Since I began this year-long challenge, I’ve received multiple thank you notes from other people, which was unexpected, but awesome. Receiving a note out of the blue makes me feel special -- even if just for a moment during a busy day -- and I’m hoping that my letters have the same effect on others. I’ve also gotten notes back saying that the note I sent came at just the right time for them as they’ve been having a rough time or really needed a pick-me-up, etc. That has been the most rewarding of all.
Even though my thank-you note exercise has helped me in my personal life, the goal has always been to brighten the day of someone else. Working in sports is a tough job with long hours and high expectations, and I feel that people often don’t feel appreciated or valued, even when they are doing an excellent job.
As someone who is deeply independent and sometimes feels like a superhuman trying to tackle everything that I sign up to do and everything that life throws at me, it’s been enlightening to sit back and think about how other people are constantly helping me. Seriously - from the facility workers here at Michigan to opposing SIDs to members of the media working to tell the stories of our student-athletes, there is a very long list of people who make my job awesome.
November is a time when many people think about what they’re thankful for, but I’m hoping this challenges teaches me to feel grateful 365 days a year - not just around the holidays.