5 Degrees of Gratitude: A Lesson in What an Open Heart Breeds

When I was 12 years old, my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. Tabby, as she was known to her grandchildren, was larger than life and was the glue that kept our family so tightly knit. She was loving, gregarious, preciously tacky and hugely supportive. So when the end seemed near, I was destroyed. At the suggestion of my mother, I wrote Tabby a note that spoke to how much I loved her. But I never gave it to her. Perhaps out of fear that it would make the situation real, I held on to the note. She died shortly thereafter, surrounded by her family and friends. While I expressed my love in her final days, I still feel guilty that she left not fully knowing how much she meant to me.

I tell this story because relationships matter. The fabric of who were are is shaped and guided by the people with whom we share our lives. And while we assume that our friends and family must know how much we appreciate them, there is a real emotional power to addressing them directly. Whether it’s thanking your mother for always being there or appreciating the help of a mentor, the simple act of expressing gratitude affects both the giver and the receiver.

That’s why we want to help you say thanks for your relationships. ThankView was designed to make saying thanks easy and enjoyable by recording personalized video messages spoken straight from the heart. And today, we want you to use it to start a positive chain of gratitude.

We are calling this Challenge the “5 Degrees Of Gratitude”. If we are successful, our messages of thanks will reach every corner of the world and let countless people know how much they matter.

Here’s how it works:
– Think of 5 people that have had an impact on your life, big or small
– Design your free ThankView cards and record a message of gratitude to each person (all you’ll need is their email)
– Press send
– Spread the word

Your expressions of gratitude will not only prove to be a cathartic and emotional gesture, it will urge your recipients to continue the chain and thank 5 more people. With any luck, this will all result in the deepening of relationships and a better understanding of how much we mean to one another.

I still think about my Tabby all the time. I’m reminded of what she gave me – a lesson in what an open heart breeds. She was never stingy with her gratitude or love. And as a result, she lived a life rich with genuine relationships. I may not have delivered that final note but I did learn an important lesson that Tabby had been teaching all along.

So take this moment to follow in those footsteps. Choose five people from every corner of your life and tell them how much they matter. What will take you 15 minutes will have a lifetime of impact. Spread the word using the #5degreesofgratitude hashtag and get your friends involved.

 

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Why I started ThankView

Before getting engaged to my now wife Liz, we had known each other for over a decade – first as roommates and then later as a couple. I preface the company origin story with my marriage origin story as a way to say Liz knows me very well. I’ve always tried to look for new ways of thinking about old problems. So after I dropped to one knee and she accepted my proposal, she was not surprised when my mind immediately went to thinking about how I could help improve the wedding process.

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I started by asking all my married friends about their own wedding stories. They opined about the endless details that were ultimately worth it on their big day. But one specific aspect that continued to surface was pain of the thank you notes. You experience one of the greatest days in your life, they explained, only to follow it up with your first marital scuffle – completing your thank you’s. Rather than express genuine gratitude for the gifts and presences of your guests, many couples admitted that it became an embittered squabble that was light on the emotion.

In the age of digital invitations, I assumed that there must already be a technological solution to help. Liz and I have always been fans of making fun videos for friends and family – surely there must be a way to say thank you with video. To my surprise, there wasn’t.

So began the process of creating ThankView.

With a hard deadline of completing ThankView before my own wedding day, our team assembled and looked at the key issue and our proposed solution. How could we remove as many points of frustration from the thank you process and transform it into something that was easy, logical and enjoyable?

What you see today is the result of many questions, countless tests and a lot of heart. We cut the time that it takes to complete a single thank you down to a 1/5th of the time by removing the need for mailing addresses or timely rewrites. We worked the economics so that many users can send each ThankView for less than the price of postage (have you seen how expensive some stationary is??? It’s insane!). We removed the need for paper altogether, creating a completely green alternative. And most importantly, we created a way to display and convey your true gratitude, making every message personal in a way that can be so hard to do in writing.

So fast forward to my wedding: it was every bit the amazing day that everyone said it would be. To be surrounded by so much love and to share it with my now wife was more than I could have ever asked for. And when it was all over, ThankView was complete and ready to use! Liz and I sat down on a Saturday afternoon and in under 2 1/2 hours, we recorded and sent ThankViews to our 140 wedding guests. The best part was that by the end of it, we were in great spirits and still enjoyed each others company – something that not many couples can say! Oh, and receiving the elated replies from recipients was a gift in itself.

I’m a lucky guy. I have a wife that supports my dreams. I am part of a team that shares that dream. And I’m lucky that we now have created something that we hope will be beneficial to countless newlyweds, young parents, birthday boys and girls and many, many others. I’m lucky to be thankful for so many great moments in my life and to dedicate my work to helping others express their thanks.

So that’s ThankView. We encourage you to start saying thanks to those you love.

Thanks for reading,

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JD Beebe, Founder of ThankView

A place where we explore gratitude, stories and successes that inspire the ThankView community
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