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John 'Izzy' Israel

Episode 32

1825 Thank You Cards

EP. 32 | “Writing thank you cards for me is my canvas. It’s the manner in which I express myself to the world about how I feel.”

As the owner of a gifting company, today’s guest felt his was living out of alignment. Gifting involves expressing your love and appreciation to the people you care about, yet John didn’t feel this value featured highly enough in his life.

Something had to change – so John committed to send FIVE handwritten thank you cards every day for one year. The Mr Thank You Project was born.

But what started as a challenge quickly morphed into an incredible journey of self-expression, personal growth, and deepening relationships.

When you think about thank you cards, you traditionally imagine obligatory notes sent after receiving a gift. But John knew those letters would get dry and boring pretty soon! So he decided to write cards that truly appreciated someone for who they are and what they’d done for him. It was a decision that forced John to be vulnerable and put his heart on the line, but the results – as you’ll see in this episode – were life-changing.

In this episode John reveals the nitty gritty about what happened during his one-year Mr Thank You project.

He tells some incredible stories of compassion, appreciation, and love for the most unlikely people who changed his life as he touched theirs.

I promise, John will transform the way you look at thank you cards. This episode exposes their true power not only to transform your relationships, but also influence the core of who you are and how you show up in the world.

Fair warning! Don’t be surprised if you get an urge to rush to the nearest store after this episode to buy a pack of cards. There’s something about John’s story that compels you to want to start writing notes of your own 🙂

And that is John’s mission. Through the Mr Thank You Project, John is determined to elevate the level of gratitude in the world by 1% by inspiring people to write 74 million thank you letters.

So grab your cup and get ready for a masterclass as I hand you over to the inspirational, Mr Thank You himself – John ‘Izzy’ Israel.


Some questions I ask:

  • How do you define gratitude and why you think it’s so important to exercise it on a daily basis. [4:15]
  • How did you cultivate the skill of being grateful for the struggles as well as the good stuff? [4:00]
  • What drove you to write thank you letters and why did you choose to write five a day? [10:25]
  • You’ve clearly elevated your ability to express. What do you tap into so you can go deep enough and unlock the words that allow you to express how you really feel? [15:30]
  • How did you own ability to be empathetic change over the course of this year? [23:17]
  • How has your perspective of what’s really important changed over time? [30:40]
  • Are you at peace with who you are because of this challenge? [34:35]
  • How do you stay grounded on a daily basis? [45:57]

In this episode, you will hear about:

  • The reason alignment helped bring the Mr Thank You project to life. [3:00]
  • The seed that started this project for John. [5:00]
  • Why John felt bitter towards his parents and how this backstory set John on his path. [6:00]
  • Why his coach told him he needed to do something more inspiring with his life! [11:00]
  • The four rules of John’s Mr Thank You project. [13:30]
  • The dream that ensured John didn’t miss a single day of his challenge. [15:30]
  • Why understanding the root of certain words helps elevate your experience of them. [17:00]
  • The questions John asked before writing someone’s card – and an example of how that looked. [17:40]
  • The pilot story and how it proved you can write a thank you card to anyone. [18:00]
  • Why you should see a human being doing a role, NOT a person doing a job. [24:15]
  • The Uber driver story that proved to John that we’re all the same. [24:50]
  • “How do you treat that which you are grateful?” and how this became a litmus test for how John showed up daily. [30:20]
  • The death that created a sense of urgency and the importance of saying how you feel about people now. [31:45]
  • The most important thank you card of John’s life. [35:35]
  • Why John wrote thank you cards to every member of the Gonzaga Men’s basketball team. [39:10]