Buckle up. This is the full story.
My senior yearbook quotation: "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi.
For my 2019 New Year's Resolution, I decided that I wanted to see how generous I could be. I resolved that every solid cause would receive my financial support (of at least $5) the whole year. All a legitimate organization/cause had to do was ask. And even if they asked me many times, I would donate every. single. time. It wasn't easy keeping up with the requests, but I stayed committed; upon reflection, I learned that I had given: single donations ranging from $5 to $250 each time to 70 nonprofit organizations, a handful of independent fundraisers, and thousands of dollars. Damn, if that didn't feel good! Surely other people get a high from knowing they are building community, too!
In the most recent years of my life, I've become infatuated with mindfulness practices, thanks to exposure from a select few family, friends, and leadership courses. I believe that mindfulness is the key to effective leadership and have been looking at ways to infuse it in my full-time job and daily life. In November 2019, I took it upon myself to pursue more on my own time and own dime, attending the life-changing Leading Mindfully Summit in Washington, DC. These are things you can't un-experience. They stick with you. Surely there is an application for this in everyday life...
Through this new interest, I've come to realize that most of the issues I see in society stem from some form of mental illness. As we all know, 2020 has been unprecedented and many have suffered increasing mental wellness challenges as a result. We are all finding different methods of connecting and I found myself trying to #SaveUSPS and sending postcards and cards randomly to connect and cheer people up. Upon hearing the argument that asking the individuals in our society to socially distance was more harmful than the virus itself, I thought to myself, surely there has to be a way to keep everyone safe and well...
A loss of income and purpose surely impact mental wellness. Through COVID-19, I've been sharing on my personal social media the ways I have been supporting small businesses, using #SmallBusinessSpotlight to introduce small business gems with my connections. My hope is that those in my circles might be mindful about their purchasing and consider supporting small businesses, who are undoubtedly hurt most by the economic shuddering of the pandemic. But how else could I help these small businesses?
I am nearing the end of my third year serving on the Board of Directors for a local nonprofit education foundation, and like most, if not all nonprofits at the moment, our funding sources have been severely limited while the need for our services are skyrocketing. For the safety of our guests, we cancelled our annual large event just weeks before the date. While we adjusted well and learned to do some of the fundraising from the event online, it fell short of our goals and really challenged us to think outside the box about how we would continue to serve our community with our funding streams decimated. How can these community organizations continue to do the necessary work without consistent funding?
Then in August 2020, I was told I would be losing my job for an undetermined amount of time, due to COVID-19. Being idle is not my forte, so I let my imagination run wild. And my training kicked in... How can I best use my talents? If you're familiar with Strengths Finder, my top 5 are Woo, Communication, Includer, Achiever, and Ideation. You know what that means... I put my thinking cap on and decided to harness all five to start a stationery company to keep busy during this goodness-knows-how-long-hiatus. I have a weak spot for buying cards and love sending them to people for any reason or no reason at all. I used to sit at Hallmark with my college roommate and look through all the funny cards, laughing our tails off until we cried. But upon more research, my lack of graphic design skills would prove too big a deficit, so I thought a bit more. And then it hit me...
I can accomplish all of these things in ONE FELL SWOOP. I could create a company that focuses on connection, which we know is the antidote to many mental wellness challenges. I could have a sales model that purchases inventory mostly from small businesses and I could use my platform to give those small businesses more visibility to drive more business in their direction. Each purchase could help fund nonprofit organizations, who have always needed our support, but now more than ever, and I could introduce the shoppers to those nonprofits so they can build their own relationships with these organizations, too. Together, we can DO good while we work on helping ourselves and others FEEL good. #Winning
The grAttitude shop was born. When I feel grateful for the connections and abundance in my life, I'm more likely to be generous with those relationships and my resources. So this is the goal - to help you connect in ways that enrich your lives and not only bring abundance, but help you build generosity into your daily life.